Authorities say rewards beneficial

Published 5:00 am Friday, June 30, 2000

Throughout history, law enforcement agencies and individualshave offered monetary rewards to help solve crimes, and localauthorities say it is still a beneficial tactic.

“Rewards will entice some people, who have knowledge of anunlawful act, to share that information with a law enforcementofficer,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte.

While acts of kindness seem to decrease as time passes, itbecomes harder for authorities to solve crimes. But authorities saymoney helps to bring out more “patriotism” in people with valuableinformation.

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“Money talks and sometimes it will get people to help out,” saidMonticello Police Chief Willard Griffin.

Rewards are usually offered by individuals who hope to getfaster results, but new ways are being developed to coerce thepublic to help authorities protect and serve.

Crime Stoppers, which has grown quickly in popularity, offerspeople the chance to help solve a crime, be compensated for theirhelp and remain anonymous. The organization’s motto is “We don’twant your name, just your information.”

Since Crime Stoppers began a few months ago in Lincoln County,authorities have witnessed its benefits.

“Out of Crime Stoppers, we’ve gotten two calls that haveresulted in three arrests,” said Boyte, recalling two arrests in astring of house burglaries and one arrest in a businessburglary.

Information leading to arrests not only has the possibility ofbringing justice to a crime, but it may also help in the recoveryof coveted items. Due to the two Crime Stoppers tips, the majorityof the stolen items and cash were recovered and returned to therightful owners.

Law enforcement officials know that the majority of crimes donot go unnoticed and they are usually discussed among members ofthe public.

“It’s rare that someone commits a crime and stays quiet aboutit,” said Boyte.

When people hear of any unlawful act, it is important to notifyauthorities. Crime Stoppers gives people a chance to rectify asituation while remaining anonymous.

Local authorities are disappointed that a recent effort to fundCrime Stoppers was shut down by a state representative who did notbring up the bill in his committee. They said Crime Stoppers hasbeen such a successful program.

“I think that it helps law enforcement solve crimes,” saidBrookhaven Police Chief Fred McKee. “It’s just another tool insolving crimes.”

Local authorities agreed that having a reward program isextremely beneficial, and it brings people and law enforcementtogether. Authorities also believe more rewards may lead to moreconvictions.

Boyte said even though the funding effort was stopped shortduring the recent legislative session, authorities plan to pushagain next year for more help in solving crimes.

Until then, the Crime Stoppers tip line will continue to servethe public as a vital tool in bringing peace and order to thisarea. Authorities believe enough funds came in during the last fewmonths to keep the program going until the next legislativesession.