History of Baytown Crime Stoppers
The key to the success of Crime Stoppers is it’s inclusion of the public, the media, and the police in a coordinated fight against crime. Crime Stoppers offers anonymity and cash rewards to persons who furnish information leading to the arrest and indictment of criminals accused of felony crime offenses and to the capture of fugitives. Anonymity overcomes fear of involvement—cash overcomes apathy.
BAYTOWN CRIME STOPPERS allows all callers to always remain anonymous and provides for cash rewards to persons with information leading to an arrest for felony offenses and to the capture of fugitives.
Crime Stoppers was organized in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1976. At that time Albuquerque had the highest crime rate per capita of any city on the US. The program was so successful that Crime Stopper groups have been established all over the United States and in several foreign countries. Police Chief Bo Turner was discussing Crime Stoppers with Jean Shepherd in late 1980. Jean was chair of the Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee, and she volunteered to set up a study group. Towson Ellis was head of the study group.
After investigating the matter, the Committee voted unanimously to form an independent Crime stoppers Board. The Baytown Crime Stoppers program was incorporated in March 1981 with Charles Tillery as the Chairman, Wayne Gray as vice chair, and Jay Eshbach as treasurer.
The first call with a tip was received on 03-28-1981. The first arrest from a Baytown Crime Stoppers tip was made on 04-22-1981 by Detective Gene Sutton. The report describing the offense read “Henry Silas Killian Ill was charged with felony theft in connection with the Saturday night theft of 38 rabbits from Leola Greer’s yard.” An award was paid.
Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization whose mission reads “The Baytown Crime Stoppers mission is to assist local law enforcement agencies in deterring crime by providing for payment of rewards for anonymous tips, leading to the arrest and conviction of criminals, thus enhancing the quality of life in our community.” Crime Stoppers involves the public, the media and the police working together in the fight against crime. The public provides the tips, the media advertises the availability of the funds and the anonymous nature of the program, and the police use the information to catch the bad guys.
Crime Stoppers works because it addresses the two main reasons people have for not getting involved in the fight against crime – fear and apathy. While in reality very few citizens have ever been hurt because of their cooperation with the police, the public perception, fueled by TV and movies, is different. And whether true or not, the perception is what had to be addressed. Being able to remain anonymous overcomes this fear of involvement.
Apathy is a different issue — fortunately, Crime Stoppers found an antidote for apathy — cash!
Tipsters generally fall into two groups 1) a friend or family member who knows something about a crime their family member or friend committed, or 2) a fellow crook that is looking for cash.
Calls are received 24 hours a day on the tip line at 281 427-TIPS (8477). The caller is given a unique code number and always remain anonymous! Rewards are paid in cash to assure the informant remains anonymous. When the information leads to an arrest and indictment, arrangements are made to pay for a reward of $100- 2,000, and up to $5,000 for a murder, but the Board has option to increase for special cases.
While Crime Stoppers works closely with the Police Department, the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors is made up of local citizens who are responsible for policy, fund raising and for controlling the amount and method for reward payments. We work very closely with two of the Baytown officers and they act in an advisory capacity, but have no vote. Law enforcement officers not eligible to serve on Board, but they are key to our successful operation.
Baytown Crime Stoppers is funded by contributions from citizens, businesses service organizations and probation funds. A major development affecting Baytown Crime Stoppers was the approval of a statute by the Texas Legislature in the 1990’s, which allowed criminal court judges to require defendants convicted of crime and placed on probation to pay an amount to the local Crime Stopper Programs. As the cities of Houston and Baytown are the only two certified Crime Stoppers programs in Harris County eligible to receive those funds, Baytown Crime Stoppers receives a share of the fees assessed by the Harris County courts. Even though Baytown receives a much smaller share than the Houston program, it is still a significant amount that allowed Baytown Crime Stoppers to raise its maximum award amount to $5,000. All the funds it receives are used here in Baytown.
There are no direct tax dollars provided to Crime Stoppers, it truly is a community program. Crime Stoppers is supported by the community’s best resources — citizens like you.
Fugitive cases — give flat $200 for a tip leading to the arrest of a fugitive, started Feature Fugitives, Baytown’s Most Wanted, in March 2001 — flat $500 for a Featured Fugitive. Even starting to have people turn themselves in when they see they have hit the Featured Fugitive list.
In addition to raising money for rewards, the Baytown Crime Stoppers provides business cards for the Officers to distribute at the crime scene for those that might call later, and for advertising of the 281- 427-TIPS number.
Since the origination of the program, Baytown Crime Stoppers has taken advantage of new technology to encourage tips. A tipster can still call 281-427-TIPS (8477), download the P3 Tips or P3 Campus app, or visit our Website at www.baytowncrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit a Tip.”
Baytown PD task force to clean up problem multi family projects.
Crime Stoppers visits with local apartment managers after the police have cleaned up an area. Information is provided so that they might distribute to residents the number to call should they witness or have information about a crime.
In addition to the adult Crime Stoppers program, programs have been established in the Lee High School, Sterling High School, and Goose Creek Memorial High School, as well has several of the Junior Schools. More difficult to maintain because of constant turnover of students. Important to have faculty sponsor that willing to take on job and maintain some continuity. Usual tips are on drugs or stolen property, but at least one handgun has been recovered as a result of a tip.
Crime Stoppers works. But we need your help. Donations from you the individual, as well as organizations are vital for this on going work.
We need to get the word out.
Let your friends and neighbors know – –
CRIME STOPPERS PAYS CASH FOR TIPS
281- 427-TIPS (8477)