Drop in 1st Quarter Crime Stoppers Tips Likely Due to Technical Issues

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 10, 2023 at 9:30pm

Less people provided tips to aid law enforcement in the three-county area over the first quarter of this year, however, that is likely due to a recent rash of technical problems.

Crime Stoppers of Morgan, Scott & Cass Counties saw a dip in tips received for the first time since roughly a year ago over the first three months of 2023.

From January 1st through March 31st, Crime Stoppers received 23 phone tips and 56 via the website or text message for a total of 79, which is down 74 total tips from the previous quarter.

Crime Stoppers Coordinator for Morgan, Scott, and Cass Counties Loren Hamilton says, he feels the tips are being made however, some recent technical issues kept those tips from getting through.

I think the previous quarter to that, maybe the last two quarters, we’d actually increased each time. This time, and we’re like everybody else and go through software issues and computer issues and things like that.

Our website was down for quite a while and our cell phone application, unfortunately, is still down right now and we’ve been dealing with technical support to try and get it back up.”

First launched in October of 2020, the local Crime Stoppers mobile device app allows tips to be submitted anonymously from any smartphone or tablet. The app is free and available through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Users can view Most Wanted Suspects, Information on unsolved crimes, and crime prevention tips. Users may also submit information concerning a crime or location of a most wanted person directly from the app. There is a link page to area law enforcement agencies included on the app as well.

Hamilton says overall the app has made a big impact on information coming into Crime Stoppers, so much so that he feels the recent issues with the app are growing pains from its success.

It’s remarkable, and you know, for our app, we don’t ask for email verification or anything like that because of the anonymity. So I can’t tell you the exact numbers that we get from our cell phone app, but I know they are out there because I get hits from way out of the area and I get tips from a lot of the schools. Which really when our cell phone app came out was our primary target audience, the schools. So it has worked really well and so we have every intention of continuing it and going farther.”

So far in 2023, tips to Crime Stoppers have aided in solving two cases, and eight arrests in the Morgan, Scott, and Cass county area, yielding $900.00 in anonymous cash rewards.

Hamilton reminds the public that even though the recent technical issues with the website and mobile app, tips can always be submitted by phone at 217-243-7300. He says tips are always anonymous no matter how they are communicated to Crime Stoppers, and the process for collecting rewards is also anonymous to keep those who provide tips as safe as possible from criminals.