Crime Stoppers a ‘wonderful tool’

March 22, 2014

Crime Stoppers can’t stop crime if there are no tips.

That sounds simple enough, but sometimes tips are scarce.

A Crime Stoppers drought was interrupted recently by two successful tips that earned cash payouts. A $1,000 reward was paid Tuesday to a person whose tip led to not just one but two felony arrests.

And during the March Crime Stoppers meeting, it was decided to award $500 for information that led to a felony drug arrest and indictment.

The total for the two tips – $1,500 – easily surpassed the amount paid out for all of 2013, which was $600.

Crime Stoppers tips can range from misdemeanors to the most serious felony crimes.

Tips can come from anyone. One local arrest came as a result of someone turning in their own grandmother.

Hood County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Kathy Jividen said that a Crime Stoppers tip helped solve the murder of Ted Herr, who died in 1983. He had severe head injuries caused by a machete, and was in a coma for just over a year before dying. William Wayne Martin was convicted of the murder and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Wives and ex-wives have been known to call in tips and claim rewards.

“A lot of times people just want to get people off the street,” said Jividen, who serves as the liaison between law enforcement and the local Crime Stoppers board of directors.

Sometimes, several crimes can be solved with one call.

“Just one tip can solve many burglaries,” Jividen said. “Crime Stoppers is a wonderful tool in law enforcement.”

Jividen began working at the Sheriff’s Office in 1982. She was involved in the Crime Stoppers program when it began here three years later during Edwin Tomlinson’s stint as sheriff.

“I remember it well. I was a dispatcher then,” said Jividen, whose duties now include supervising the dispatch crew.

To date, the local Crime Stoppers program has received 3,372 tips and awarded $56,805 for 330 cases cleared and 343 arrests made.

Those cases resulted in property valued at $189,528 being recovered and a total of $247,301 worth of drugs seized. Also, 11 fugitives have been captured through local Crime Stoppers tips.

The first meeting of the Hood County Crimes Stoppers board of directors was on April 1, 1985.

The Crime Stoppers fund gets $50 from the fines assessed for each local court case.

“That’s where we get a lot of our funds,” Jividen said. “We’ve had fundraisers in the past, too, though.”

Donations have slowed recently. Anyone interested in donating to the Crime Stoppers reward fund can contact Jividen at the Sheriff’s Office by calling the non-emergency number – 817-579-3316.

The Crime Stoppers board, which includes a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary, votes on the amount to be paid for each reward.

“They have the full authority,” Jividen said. “It depends on the crime. It could be any amount.”

She said some misdemeanor tips earn $25.

Crime Stoppers callers remain anonymous. If they call 817-573-TIPS, they are connected with a service in Fort Worth called Safe City, which gathers information from multiple Crime Stoppers programs in the area.

“Safe City gives them a tip number,” Jividen said. “It’s up to that person (the tipster) to keep their tip confidential. Once I see the arrest was made and they give me that number, then I go to the board and recommend a reward.”

Tip messages can also be sent by cell phone. Instead of sending it to a person’s phone number, enter the number 274637. Type “Tip 129” at the start of the message to identify it as a tip from Hood County. Include the specific crime tip information, and send. Callers to 911 reporting a crime in progress must mention Crime Stoppers during the call to be eligible for potential reward money.

If the board approves a specific award, the tipster uses a unique code number to claim the money at the drive-through window of a local bank.

“Crime Stoppers is happy to pay out the awards, due to the fact that it helps keep the drugs and the criminals off the streets,” Jividen said. “We like it to be known we pay the rewards.”

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

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