08/17/10 — Crime Stoppers encouraging tips via texts

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Crime Stoppers encouraging tips via texts

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 17, 2010 1:46 PM

After a year in service, the Crime Stoppers text message line has not been widely used, Goldsboro Police Department officials say -- and they want to see that change.

Goldsboro police Sgt. Dot Ardes, law enforcement coordinator for Crime Stoppers, estimates she receives about one tip via text message each month, but added that she would like to see that number increase.

"It's not enough," she said. "I think it's because a lot of people don't know about it. There's a whole younger generation that don't understand how Crime Stoppers works, and they are the ones who would use it."

The Goldsboro-Wayne Crime Stoppers, which serves all agencies in the county not just the police department, first started in December 2002. Since its inception, Crime Stoppers tips have led to about 5,700 arrests and more than $10 million in property recovered and narcotics seized.

The Crime Stoppers phone line allows people to call in tips anonymously 24 hours a day, although the information might not be received until the following day's business hours.

If the tip leads to a felony arrest, there is also the opportunity for a cash reward. In 2009, Crime Stoppers led to more than 140 arrests and nearly $8,000 was paid in cash rewards.

Similar to the Crime Stoppers phone line, the text line is also anonymous, unlike traditional texts.

"Nobody, including me, will know who you are," Mrs. Ardes said.

She added that Crime Stoppers has set a system up with the phone company that blocks the phone number of the person texting, but still allows Mrs. Ardes to reply in case she needs to ask a follow-up question or needs clarification.

"That's part of the reason we held out for so long on the text messaging. I didn't want there to be a record of where the calls came from," she said.

Mrs. Ardes added that a benefit of the text option is the tipster is able to be much more discreet.

"I've noticed that they can be right in the middle of witnessing something and text the information to me, and we can act on it right away," she said.

Text message Crime Stoppers at 919-273-6585 or call Crime Stoppers at 919-735-2255.