Fundraiser aids in organization's expenses; tips, rewards on the rise

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Kick off your boots and join the 6th Annual Crime Stoppers Roundup and Jamboree Sept. 29 at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

The annual fundraiser assists Crime Stoppers of South Texas, Inc. with operating expenses, and recently some of the funds were used to upgrade the organization's communication system for the Crime Stoppers police coordinators.

"The funds generated from this event have helped us improve our communications system, allowing us to provide a 24 hour hot-line answering service and Blackberry telephones," Nelda Garcia, program coordinator, said. "This event provides us an opportunity to recognize and thank the sponsors of the event along with law enforcement, media and community members for all their support."

The phones provide instant tip messages and dispatching to proper law enforcement agencies, Garcia said.

The jamboree includes a sit-down dinner at 7 p.m. catered by Bill Miller barbecue with brisket, sausage and all the trimmings.

The western dance will start at 8 p.m. and run through midnight featuring Southern Justice. A silent auction of a variety of gifts will be on sale throughout the night and prizes will be awarded to two couples for best western attire and best dancers.

Tickets to the dinner and dance are $35 each or a reserved table for 10 is $350. A VIP table for 10 can be purchased for $500, which includes sponsorship in the program and a special announcement at the jamboree and on the Crime Stoppers Web site.

For tickets call Garcia at 664-9460 or vice chairman Vic Casas at 279-3357.

Crime Stoppers of South Texas, Inc. for the first time this year added a Web site that includes information about local programs, which serves Jim Wells, Duval and Brooks counties.

The site can also be accessed to email a secure anonymous tip on-line.

State conference training and seminars for police coordinators, members of the board of directors, sponsors, students on boards, administrators and law enforcement officials of campus programs are also provided through the Crime Stoppers home page.

The added programs and partnering with the Alice Echo-News Journal to publish the Crime of the Week has spurred more calls, organizers said.

"We show about a 35 percent increase from last year in the number of calls and reports received," Garcia said.

Crime Stoppers locally averages about 35 calls per month to the hot-line answering service and has surpassed last year's documented tips of 40 for the year with 45 this year in nine months.

So far this year, Crime Stoppers assisted in the arrests of 12 individuals, including one aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and recovered $2,500 in narcotics and property estimated at $2,000.

Crime Stoppers has awarded more than $1,500 in rewards.

Last school year, campus and safe school programs assisted with three narcotic cases leading to arrests, two cases where weapons were recovered, seven cases of vandalism and two criminal mischief cases that resulted in administrative discipline. Rewards for the school programs totaled $425.

"We are limited in our resources on the road," said Michael Hinojosa, police coordinator for Crime Stoppers. "The community needs to be our ears and eyes and they need to get involved. Our statistics are there to show that Crime Stoppers does pay."