"Cleveland-Bolivar county started crime stoppers. We're trying to get awareness out and offer you the number to contact someone,” said Chairman Mark Williams. “You're given a code number and you leave your tip. If the tip leads to an arrest you get a cash reward of up to $1000.”
The program is a member of Crime Stoppers USA, which is a "national Crime Stoppers organization that spans the United States to create a network of local programs that work together to prevent and solve crimes in communities and schools across the nation," according to the CSUSA website.
The program is funded through a small percentage of county and city traffic fines, as well as private donations.
The Cleveland-Bolivar County Crime Stoppers Program Committee wants to promote the name so that members of the community and Bolivar County residents are aware and that they have the ability to help if they know something about a crime that has been committed.
"Right now we are trying to get our name out there more. We've gotten permission from the city to put them on any sign we want to as long as it's not a stop sign," said Williams.
The committee plans to add more signs each year, including in the county and so far is currently in the process of posting 50 new signs around Cleveland.
The committee has also had local companies create Crime Stoppers chip clips, thermometers, small flashlights, and pencils to promote the name.
These items will be given out at local football games, such as this past Friday’s Cleveland High School and East Side High School football games, and events throughout the community.
"We just wanted things people could keep in their household to keep brand awareness. We've ordered a whole lot of pencils and the DARE officers are giving them out in the school systems," said Williams.
"We're very fortunate here that we don't have the crime like other areas, yet we still have crime. We want people to call the number, help out our law enforcement, get these people off the streets, and they can make some money out of it at the same time," said Williams.
The Crime Stoppers insures anonymity of informants.
"We don't want to know who they are. We just want to reduce crime and try to do our part to help out and do that," said Mark Robinson, treasurer of the program.
Not only does the Crime Stoppers program take anonymous tips, but they also help to promote safety in the community.
The committee has a child fingerprinting kit that allows someone to get a print out of a child's fingerprints, photo id, height, weight, eye color, and any other identifying markers the child may have.
"Any organization can borrow it and we work hand in hand to use that kit," said Robinson.
Different organizations or schools have used this to insure parent's are prepared if something were to happen to their child.
"If they come up missing we can report it and we've got fingerprints on them. It's been really good," said Robinson.
"All we ask is if when someone borrows it they take care of the paper and replace the ink," said Williams.
With new signs for Crime Stoppers appearing throughout Cleveland, it is hopeful that more residents will be aware they have the opportunity to keep their community safe.
Crime Stoppers takes anonymous tips on crimes. A caller is given an id number and if the caller's information leads to an arrest or conviction, that person could receive a cash reward from Crime Stoppers.
To provide information on any case, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).