Crime Stoppers in need of public support
Crime Stoppers of Thomasville since its inception has helped the Chair City police close hundreds of cases that otherwise could still be open.
Brought to Thomasville Police Department in 1993, the Crime Stoppers tip hotline is responsible for helping to solve homicides, bust drug dealers and recover stolen property. Crime Stoppers of Thomasville is a valuable tool for local law enforcement, but also is a nonprofit organization that relies solely on donations and fundraising. Like many other nonprofits during the current economic recession, Crime Stoppers of Thomasville is in need of public support.
"We're no different than anybody else," Capt. Darren Smith said. "People who used to give aren't giving as much or they're giving money elsewhere to other agencies who need help. We're hoping anyone who can help will so we can keep this important community partnership going."
Crime Stoppers of Thomasville is comprised solely of volunteers who work hand-in-hand with Chair City police to help solve crimes and enhance the quality of life for the surrounding community. An average of 5.8 tips come into TPD every month. Over the years, the tips have resulted in more than 870 cases being cleared and 767 individual arrests. The Crime Stoppers board has approved 488 tips in the past 20 years totaling $77,665.
Detectives investigate every hotline tip and if the call results in a arrest, the Crime Stoppers board votes on how much money the reward will be. Smith said the Crimes Stoppers board always has been generous when it comes to rewards, and he hopes donations pick up soon so they can continue that practice.
"We don't want to get to a place where we're worried about how much money we can give out," said Smith. "We're at a time where we need to build up how much money we have. Anything people could give would be most appreciated."
All 12 members of the Crime Stoppers board are volunteers who give their time to moving the organization forward.
"They are some unsung heroes," Chief Jeff Insley said. "All their work comes from the heart. They do it because they want to make things better."
Some of biggest cases in the Chair City over the years were closed thanks to a Crime Stoppers tip. In 2011, police arrested three people in connection to a triple homicide after receiving valuable information from the hotline. TPD had very little to work with following the murder on Nov. 7, 2011, but a call two days later resulted in the arrest of three suspects on Nov. 10.
In May 2012, detectives, working off information received from the Crime Stoppers hotline, arrested a man in connection to a string of break-ins at Bowers Lumber Company. Following the arrest, police recovered more than $26,000 worth of stolen property. A Crime Stoppers tip in January led to the arrest of James Ward, who police allege was a major illegal prescription pill distributor in the city. Officers seized 1,220 Oxycodone pills and 679 Xanax pills during a search at Ward's Edgewood Avenue home.
For more information on Crime Stoppers of Thomasville, call Smith at 475-4264. Donations are tax deductible and may be mailed to P.O. Box 921, Thomasville, NC 27361-0921.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.