With school starting in a week, students asked to call in tips at 664-STOP

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

With back to school around the corner, the Crime Stoppers of South Texas board is urging parents and students to stay safe and report any illegal activities to 664-STOP, which could earn them a reward.

"Crime Stoppers in conjunction with law enforcement has been an effective tool in controlling crime, not only in South Texas, but across the nation," said David Flores, president of Crime Stoppers of South Texas Inc. "Crime Stoppers has been recognized by individual police departments and sheriff's departments and has been a tremendous ally in drug and gang prevention in the middle and high schools across the country."

Individuals can call the hotline number and give an anonymous tip, which is relayed to the investigating law agencies that follow up on the leads.

If the tip results in the arrest and indictment of an individual, the tipster can earn a cash reward. Informants are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Crime Stoppers of South Texas has proven to be a success for the community and in school campuses by the crime fighting method of providing clues to help law enforcement officers solve crimes, organizers said. Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization made up of a volunteer board of concerned citizens that involve community residents, the media and area law enforcement agencies.

Crime Stoppers is a tool for residents to call anonymously. The organization serves Jim Wells, Duval and Brooks counties.

"Crime Stoppers of South Texas is proven to work with school districts in all three counties," Flores said. "And we currently seek to include all of the districts and have 100 percent participation within the next two weeks."

To keep the program successful, it needs the support and cooperation of community residents. A board of directors that oversees the program guides Crime Stoppers. The board determines and approves the rewards. The board does not know the identity of the callers. The caller is given a code number to monitor the progress of the case and with that number the board arranges payment of the cash reward with the tipster. For every dollar spent in rewards, about $93 worth of narcotics are confiscated or stolen property recovered.

Fund raising events and donations from individuals, businesses and grants solely supports the non-profit program.