Crime Stoppers has been helping Rockford area law enforcement solve crime and make arrests since 1981. In 2018, the community stepped up, giving Crime Stoppers a record breaking year.
“We need the community that essentially, they are our eyes and ears out there.” said Assistant Deputy Chief of Investigations Carla Redd.
The Rockford Police Department, having a limited amount of officers and resources, count on help from the community to solve city crimes. One way residents have been getting involved is by calling in tips to Crime Stoppers, and their calls have paid off.
“This past year there were 975 cases that we were able to clear because of tips.” said Rockford Area Crime Stoppers Coordinator Jeff Stovall. “They live within the neighborhoods, they own businesses. They may see bits and fragments of things that transpire and it’s our job to kind of solve that puzzle if you will and put the pieces into play to assist in the investigation.”
Crime Stoppers Coordinator Jeff Stovall says the 975 cases solved included four homicide cases, four arsons and thirty-five burglary cases. On top of solving those cases, tips from residents has lead to over 800 arrests, $1,472,198 worth of drugs being seized, $325,164 of property and cash recovered, along with aiding in getting serious criminals off the streets.
“In fact there were four different individuals that were wanted on homicide charges based on information Crime Stoppers had put out there.” said Stovall.
One reason Stovall thinks people call Crime Stoppers, instead of the police directly, is because, unlike the police, callers don’t have to give their names to Crime Stoppers.
“If they call us, it’s all completely anonymous and I can take the information.” said Stovall. “I try to get as much information, obviously, as I can and then I forward it to the police department.”
Police say every tip, or bit of information, no matter the size or perceived significance, counts.
“I’d much rather have someone call the police and if we investigate it. If it’s nothing there’s no harm no foul.” said Redd. “However, if you don’t call, we never get the information, which puts us further behind the 8 ball.”
People calling into Crime Stoppers could get a cash reward, ranging from $100 to $1000, depending on the tip.