Crime Stoppers asks for help in solving crimes

Published 11:09 pm Friday, July 21, 2006

Local residents can help in solving criminal cases.

Criminal activity such as the felony malicious mischief that occurred June 25 on Long Lake Drive in the North Hill Subdivision where an unknown suspect damaged a house under construction could be solved with help from local residents, officials say.

According to a report from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, the owner of the house noticed standing water in the yard as he passed by the house. When the owner investigated further he discovered buckets of stucco mud emptied on to the front porch and thrown on the front windows. The deputy’s report and the victim’s report bothstate that the letters OWG were drawn in the mud on the windows. In addition, a water hose was placed in the back door of the home and left running, damaging building supplies and leaving standing water in every room of the house, the report states.

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A county wide program called Crime Stoppers is asking for any information on the incident. The program helps law enforcement officials from the Poplarville and Picayune Police Departments and the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, solve this and other cases, said Picayune Police Community Relations Coordinator Lt. Theresa Milar. Rresidents can give anonymous information through the program that could help close hard to solve or unknown cases, Milar said.

“Because it’s the small tip that people may not think is important until it’s asked,” Milar said.

When information is turned into Crime Stoppers, that information is in turn relayed to the proper department investigating the crime, which then follows up on the lead and determines if a reward is warranted, Milar said. Distribution of rewards is not solely based on whether or not arrests are made, they are based on how credible the information is, Milar said. There have been instances where information would result in the issuance of a warrant for the suspect’s arrest but no arrest had yet been made, however the informant was still eligible for the reward, Milar said.

Crimes presented in the media are not the only ones that should be reported to Crime Stoppers, Milar said. Informants tips on unpublished crimes are just as welcome, Milar said. Examples include information about drug activity, breaking and entering, or arson, Milar said.

Rewards for information are determined by the local Crime Stoppers board, she said.

The board consists of six local residents who volunteer their time to help catch criminals and solve cases, said Crime Stoppers board president Michelle Fradella.

To determine how much rewards should be and if aa tip is eligible, Fradella said Crime Stoppers looks at the nature of the crime and the extent of the tip. The information is then compared on a points basis, with crimes such as murder cases having one of the highest point ratios, Fradella said. This points system and informants identity remaining secret to ensure reward amounts stay unbiased, Fradella said.

When an informant calls in to give a tip they are given a random number, Fradella said. When informants are deemed eligible for rewards they are issued another number they take to a bank that works with the program, names are never given or asked for, Fradella said.

“If they have information that they want the police department to know and want to be anonymous, then they have the opportunity to do that,” Fradella said.

Residents who have information they would like to share anonymously with Crime Stoppers can call 601-799-CLUE(2583).