Community support spurs crime-stopping milestone

Larry Crumpton, Robert Blackwell, April Tolbert, Lee Wheeler and Kent Houp

“If you see something, say something.”

Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas reminds us that we, as the residents of this community, have the ability to get criminals off the streets, thieves out of reach of our property, predators away from our children – by simply speaking up. 

The message has apparently gotten through. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the local Crime Stoppers group accepted a state program award for most cases solved by population. 

Crime Stoppers Board Chair April Tolbert said the award is only possible thanks to partnerships involved in making the local program a success. Every sheriff’s office, every police department in Jefferson, Orange, and Hardin counties works with the nonprofit group, as well as volunteers, media, and tipsters.

“This is a partnership – this program does not work without everyone,” Tolbert said. “From the citizens calling in tips, the media putting out information, and your officers who are hitting the streets letting us know what crimes need our help to solve. We all work together.”

According to 2017 stats posted by Crime Stoppers in its annual report to the state, the group received 1,113 tips resulting in 97 arrests, 150 cases cleared, and 38 charges laid. More than $18,000 was paid out to tipsters in 69 approved awards, pursuant to cases that included the capital murder of a young, pregnant Beaumont mother, a suspected bomb-maker and armed robbers. And, now, in addition to including all Southeast Texas law enforcement agencies from the tri-county area, Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas has reached out to local school districts to address tips and concerns from youth tipsters as well.

“We have trended up in all of our stats,” Tolbert said. According to her, part of the reason for the program’s success is its expansion. “We’re in Silsbee, Pinehurst, Orangefield, Lumberton … We have MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with local school districts – seven already on board and we’re looking to include all the districts in the tri-county area.”

“We’re not just in Beaumont, not just Jefferson County,” she explained. 

Crime Stoppers encourages members of the community to assist local law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime by overcoming the two key elements that inhibit community involvement: fear and apathy. By reporting crime and suspicious activity, those who report to Crime Stoppers what they see  and what they know can help keep the community safe. Crime Stoppers tries to make access easy by providing a telephone number (833-TIPS) that can be used no matter what city or county tipsters are calling to report from or on, a Web Tips function, and Text Tipping to encourage citizens in the community to volunteer vital information helpful to law enforcement agencies to fight against crime – on top of up to $1,000 cash reward for information. 

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