Community urged to report anonymously to Crime Stoppers
Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 7, 2020
Crime Stoppers is well known for offering an anonymous method for submitting tips to law enforcement, but not many people understand how the program works.
Recently, the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department joined six other counties to become part of the Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers, which was formed in 1986.
Other counties in that fold include Jackson, Harrison, Hancock, George, Greene and Stone, said Coordinator Lori Massey. Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers is one of 33 such programs in Mississippi, Massey said.
Crime Stoppers is a program funded by a percentage of fees and fines collected when a person pays their moving violation citation. That funding is used to help bring in more tips by offering rewards for information that could lead to an arrest in high profile cases, or the location of a missing person. The more valuable the tip, the more money that person will receive, Massey said.
Rewards top out at $2,500, such as the one being offered for information leading to the location of Rebecca Reid, who has been missing from her Lumberton home since Jan. 25, of this year. The 32-year-old woman was last seen in her yard in the 200 block of Leetown Road in Lumberton at 4 p.m. but hasn’t been seen since. A silver alert issued by the Mississippi Highway Patrol states that Reid has a medical condition that could affect her judgment.
Reid is still missing, and Crime Stoppers is still offering the maximum reward for information leading to her whereabouts.
Massey said Crime Stoppers does not keep personal information from those who provide information in a case and the call centers aren’t equipped with caller ID. Any information that could identify the person, such as if the tipster indicates during the call that they are related to the person involved in the case, is redacted before it’s passed on to the appropriate law enforcement agency, Massey said.
When the caller provides their information to Crime Stoppers, they are given a pin number, which they can use to check on the status of their tip. Callers are urged to continue to provide additional information if they receive it to make their tip as effective as possible. That pin is the only piece of data that ties them to their tip. When a tip leads to an arrest or significant discovery worthy of a reward, the caller will be alerted to that fact the next time they call or login with the P3 Tips App or login to the website.
Once a caller has been deemed eligible for a reward, they are advised to go to a predetermined bank to collect their money. Massey said that person will only be able to collect their reward through the drive through and are informed not to go into the bank. At that time the teller will use the check sent to them via Crime Stoppers to provide the caller with their cash reward.
Some crimes should not be reported to Crime Stoppers, such as an assault or rape. Massey said those individuals should report those crimes to their nearest law enforcement agency.
Maj. Marc Ogden with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department said that tips concerning drug activity are welcome. Two rewards were recently issued in this county for more than $500 each because the information provided led to the arrest of suspects and the seizure of property, Ogden said.
To submit a tip, call 1-877-787-5898, download the P3 Tips App, or visit the Mississippi Coast Crime Stoppers website.