Crimestopper officials tout effectiveness of program
When it comes to apprehending someone who has allegedly broken the law, Crime Stoppers is often the best method for tracking that suspect down.
In a recent theft case, the Vicksburg Police Department implored the community to call Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers to help identify individuals seen in a surveillance video.
The help came, as multiple calls were received identifying the women.
Investigator Chuck Harrison, the tip manger for Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers, said in this case, he received at least 10 tips through one of the three methods people can take to submit tips — phone calls, websites or an app.
Calling the organizations phone number, which is 601-355-TIPS (8477), is the most common way tips are received.
“When they do that. they are actually calling into and talking to a call taker at the call center in Texas,” he said. “Once that call taker gets all the information from the tipsters, they put it together … and then they send it to me.”
Once the tips come in, Harrison sends them to the law enforcement agency that is seeking the information. Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers covers 10 counties, including Warren County.
Another way to submit a tip is through two websites — p3tips.com and centralmscrimestoppers.com.
“When they hit submit, it comes through to me and issues that person a login, username and password so they can log back in at any time to update the information and add additional things like photos, videos, any kind of digital file to that tip that might help further the investigation,” he said.
The third way is through a mobile tip. It works in the same way as the web tip, but Harrison feels it is better method because it is accessible when people aren’t near a computer. The free app is called P3Tips.
“That is the one way we would really like to get the public to catch on to because it is so much more mobile,” Harrison said.
Another perk to the app is Harrison, the call center and members of the law enforcement agency using the tips can send messages to the tipster asking addition questions. He said it’s just like texting, and it’s anonymous.
“They can login and start responding back,” he said. “We can actually start a real-time, two-way anonymous conversation with the tipster behind the tip on the other end. They have no way of seeing who I am or who we are, and we have no way of seeing who they are or their phone number or anything associated with them.”
Harrison said using the mobile app makes a difference when it comes to safety and efficiency while looking for a suspect.
People who submit tips through phone calls and the website will still get a username and password to keep up with the status of their tip and are able to add addition information using any device that connects to the internet.
It is important for people to submit tips, no matter how small, Harrison said, because any piece of information could be a vital piece in the investigation puzzle.
“You just never know. They should never hesitate if they have any information at all related to any crime,” he said. “Even the smallest little things can make the biggest difference and you not even realize that you’ve done it.”
By using Crime Stoppers, everyone benefits, Harrison said. People have the ability to stop crime in their area, and tips that lead to the arrest of a felony suspect make the tipster eligible for a cash reward.
“They can solve crime in their area and walk away with a cash reward,” Harrison said. “It’s a big benefit. We can’t do it all by ourselves. We need the eyes and the ears and the knowledge of the public to help solve a lot of cases.”