Members of the Crime Stoppers of South Texas gave a special presentation to the Rotary Club of Alice Wednesday about how for 35 years they have assisted law enforcement solve criminal cases thanks to the public's involvement.
Crime Stoppers of South Texas is an entity under the office of the Texas governor made up of volunteers who serve Jim Wells, Duval and Brooks Counties. It is a three part entity that includes media, law enforcement, along with board members and the public, according to Ofelia Hunter, president.
“Crime Stoppers is mainly an entity that helps law enforcement solve crimes. Without the public’s help, the media and law enforcement working together, many of these cases would not have been solved,” Hunter stated. “There's a free hotline number where anyone can leave an anonymous tip. The tip goes to the Crime Stopper's coordinator JWC Deputy Sgt. Danny Galvez who than distributes the tip to the appropriate (law enforcement) entity.”
According to Hunter, former Alice Police Chief and JWC Sheriff Oscar Lopez got the ball rolling for the local Crime Stoppers of South Texas, but the charter didn't officially start for another seven to 10 years.
One of the first major cases to be solved through Crime Stoppers of South Texas was the murder of Noemi Charles-Coburn in 2000. Hunter gave other examples of when Crime Stoppers of South Texas was used to help solve a case from murders to burglaries.
“No crime is too small,” said Crime Stoppers of South Texas Secretary Nena Pitts. “Yes, we talk about the bigger cases such as the murders because we do want to get those cases solved, but all cases, even misdemeanors, can be solved when someone leaves a tip.”
The public has information about certain criminal activity that they have witnessed, but most people don't want to get involved, she said.
Anyone with information on any criminal activity is urged to call 9-1-1 if there's an emergency. To leave a tip and remain anonymous tipsters can call 361-664-STOP. Any tip that leads to an arrest or indictment can earn the tipster a cash reward.