By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — After over a year in existence, officials of the Jefferson County Crimestoppers have taken the bite out of crime with its Watchdog Quarterly publication.
The fifth edition of the publication will be produced in April, according to the group’s president Richard Endsley.
“We have definitely seen results in the number of people who come forward with information as a result of our Watchdog Quarterly,” said Endsley. “Law enforcement officials have been able to make several results after people in the community have identified photographs of suspects whose photographs have appeared in the publication.”
In addition to the photographs of suspects who are wanted on various offenses, the tabloid features a section on suspects who have been arrested since the previous edition was published.
“I think that is very effective because it lets criminals know that people are watching and reporting them,” Endsley said.
Jefferson County State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman also believes the publication has been an effective tool for law enforcement.
“I think it’s a great publication. I’m glad the Crimestoppers publish it,” Hoffman said. “I think it’s important to keep the public informed of alleged criminals, and my understanding is there have been quite a few arrests with people who have warrants, or who are wanted for other crimes. I applaud the Crimestoppers for taking action to reduce the number of criminals on our streets.”
In 2012, the organization received 153 calls, resulting in 17 cases solved as a result of arrests. The organization paid out $1,250 in rewards.
In February, the Crimestoppers received 18 tips, although no arrests were made and no cases solved. For the first two months of the year, the organization has received 29 tips, including 11 for fugitives wanted on outstanding warrants.
Since its inception in 1984, the organization has received 3,889 calls, resulting in 256 arrests and 439 cases have been resolved. Law enforcement has recovered $911,568 in stolen property, and the organization has given out over $39,000 in rewards.
Tips are received through a 24-hour hotline, 242-TIPS. There is no caller I.D. and all calls remain anonymous. The caller is given an identification number for the tip. If arrests are made resulting in the tip, the tips are taken to the monthly board meeting for approval.
Jefferson County Crimestoppers is a nonprofit organization consisting of a board of directors and is a cooperative effort in law enforcement, media and citizens.
In addition to President Endsley, officers of the local organization include: Bill Beck, vice president; Melody True, treasurer; and Sharon Martin, coordinator.
The group meets at 7:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month at Green Tree Assisted Living Center.