CrimeStoppers plays big role in arrests
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — Anthony Sheppard's neighborhood is close-knit.
"Mostly everybody in this neighborhood knows everyone," he says.
When crime happens, people living there don't always want to talk to the police.
"I mean, if the person or whoever did [the crime] seen you talking to the police, when the police is gone, or later that evening or whatever, they can come back and kill you as well," he says.
That's where CrimeStoppers comes in. The anonymous tip line lets you report a crime without anyone knowing.
"We have yet to have an incident where someone called in here and said 'Y'all told someone that I called y'all,'" says Sgt. Don Stone. "We don't know who you are."
Residents can call, text, or leave a message online with any information that they may have about a crime. No one, not even the people working at CrimeStoppers, know who they are. If the tip leads to an arrest, CrimeStoppers offers an award. Residents can receive $50 to $2,500 depending on the type of crime.
"As the years go on, you see more criminal activity," says Stone. "You rarely see a year where the murders go down. Unfortunately, they always go up and the call volume goes up with them."
Residents, like Beronica Webb, say it's a great program.
"I love CrimeStoppers!" she says. "If I knew who was vandalizing my car, I'd have been calling already, but I don't know who it is."
Webb says she likes the way the calls stay secret.
"It's more safer to do it anonymously," she explains. "You don't know where I came from. All they know is they got reported or busted or whatever."
Others say they're glad to do their part to make the city safer.
"You stop one person from crime, that can eliminate about 10 to 20 more from that same person," says Andrea Freeman.
However, not everyone will take advantage of the tip line.
"Not out here. Not out here," says Sheppard. "Nine out of ten times probably no one would call ever because...that's just the way they are."
Residents say it's fear that keeps them quiet.
"Some people are afraid for their life," Webb says.
Still, they're hopeful that more people will start to speak up and stop crime.
"You don't have to be scared to call CrimeStoppers," says Sheppard.
CrimeStoppers has been around since 1982. Since its start, the program has helped solve 217 murders, 38 rapes, and more than 3,800 narcotics investigations.