Summit County Crime Stoppers debuts with anonymous hotline and rewards
SUMMIT COUNTY – Law enforcement and business leaders unveiled their newest tool in crime-fighting Wednesday night – the county’s new Crime Stoppers organization and hotline.
Summit County joins more than a 1,000 communities in 16 countries with an anonymous tip line that allows citizens to report information, suspicious activity and leads on crimes in the area. Citizens who report information that leads to an arrest can collect up to $1,000.
The hotline can be reached at 1-866-453-STOP (7867), and is toll-free.
“Yes, this is in response to rising crime in Summit County, but it’s also about the public’s desire to stop any crime,” said Steve Layne, Crime Stoppers board vice president and a crime-prevention consultant. “Summit County, years ago, was like any other small community – everybody knew everybody. It doesn’t work like that any more, but a lot of people still don’t want to stand up in court and say, “I swear …’ This way, anyone can participate in reducing crime.”
A board of directors composed of citizens, business owners and law enforcement representatives oversees the program. The board decides when and how much to award reporting citizens. The program is coordinated by Breckenridge Police Department’s community service officer Trish Holcroft, but information on crimes will be distributed countywide.
“This is a great thing,” said Silverthorne Police Chief John Patterson. “We’re fortunate to live in such a participatory community. One agency alone couldn’t have put this together – it took the synergy of the entire community. And it’s one more tool for crime-fighting.”
The Crime Stoppers board kicked off the program with a small banquet in Frisco Wednesday night for local law enforcement and business leaders. Initially, the county’s police departments and sheriff’s office are funding the award pool. Businesses also contributed generously by providing board members, donations and in-kind contributions. Target, for example, provided a computer to track the tip information.
“There is crime here, and retail crime is big problem,” said BigHorn Materials owner Don Sather. “We just installed security cameras at the center, and a lot of other people are – not just for crime, but also for terrorism concerns. The shame is, retail crime tends not to be prosecuted. Business owners look at the cost and time it takes and decide it’s just not worth it. I’m hoping this can make a difference.”
The Crime Stoppers board plans to offer other programs to benefit businesses. In conjunction with law enforcement agencies, the group is planning workshops on employee theft and shoplifting.
The board also will raise additional reward funds by involving businesses and holding awareness-raising events. Layne said the group plans to hold ski corrals at resorts, collecting ski check money, and plans to set up booths at county fairs and other events.
For information on contributing or participating with Summit County Crime Stoppers, call (970) 376-4149.
Crime does happen in Summit County
Here are crime statistics for 2002 from the sheriff’s office alone:
Ski thefts – 232
Snowboard thefts – 149
Other thefts – 258
Robberies – 3
Burglaries – 79
Assaults – 43
DUIs – 227
Total calls to Advocates for Victims of Assault (includes sexual assault, domestic violence and other traumas) – 3,221
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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