Crime Stoppers of Morgan, Scott, and Cass Counties saw a big increase in tips during the second quarter. Between April 1st and June 30th, Crime Stoppers received 166 tips in response to crimes in the area. That’s a 26% increase from the first quarter of this year.
Crime Stoppers Coordinator, Loren Hamilton says they are attributing the increase in part to the new Crime Stoppers phone app that was rolled out in October of last year.
The app was made possible by a grant obtained from Apex Clean Energy and is a stand-alone app for Morgan, Scott, and Cass County Crime Stoppers.
During the second quarter of this year, Crime Stoppers saw five cases solved related to tips received, which is four more solved than in the first quarter. Arrests were up as well with 16 being made over the three-month stretch, with five more than the first quarter.
Crime Stoppers paid out $2,500 in rewards for tips in the second quarter of this year, $775 more than was paid between January and March.
Hamilton says regardless of how someone relays a tip to Crime Stoppers, both the tip and the process for collecting reward money for that tip are always anonymous.
“It doesn’t matter if they call in or go through the app or the website, they get a code number to recontact us with instead of their name. Now if is through the website or the app, I can actually contact them directly and give them the reward pick-up information.
If they call the tip in, they would have to call back in, with their number and not their name, and then we give them the information to pick up their reward. Tips are picked up from a bank here in town, it’s cash, there are no checks made out, and nothing to sign. You don’t have to show your ID or any of that. You just basically give that number and get your reward that way.”
Hamilton says those instances where he can reply to the tipster with reward pick-up information are also not only anonymous but encrypted as well for extra security.
“When they go on the website, app, or text we are actually the second person to receive that. The first person to receive it is a security company in Canada that encrypts the IP address and then sends it to me. So I don’t even know the IP address or the computer the tip came from. When I answer them back, it goes through that same funnel system to get the message back to them.”
Hamilton says regardless of how someone turns in a tip to Crime Stoppers, his unit has no way to know the tipster’s name, phone number, or IP address.
The Crime Stoppers mobile app can be found in both Google Play and the Apple App Store by searching for “Morgan Scott Crime Stoppers”.
Anonymous tips can be submitted online by going to www.morganscottcrimestoppers.webs.com and clicking the leave a tip button or calling Crime Stoppers at 243-7300. Tips may also be submitted by texting 274637 (CRIMES). The first word of the text tip must be “payout”.