Tuesday, February 15, 2005
In the past year, Routt County Crime Stoppers has seen an increase in tips, and the nonprofit organization's board is hoping the trend will continue.
In 2004, the board received 11 anonymous tips on its telephone hotline, which is six more than the year before. In January, the hotline took two tips, both of which resulted in arrests and awards to the people who gave the tips.
Crime Stoppers secretary Kim Gittleson said two Steamboat Springs High School students are helping raise awareness of Crime Stoppers at the high school as part of their Leadership Class. The two students are putting up posters and placing ads in the school newspaper in hopes of encouraging students to report crimes, Gittleson said.
Board President Austin Mackrill said the board has a philosophy for people to do the right thing and to help keep Routt County safe.
"I think everyone intrinsically needs or desires to do the right thing, and we just try to create that forum," Mackrill said.
Gittleson said many of the tips involve reports of drug use and activities but they also have involved vandalism, stolen property and people who were wanted.
In January, a person was given $200 for reporting a marijuana-growing operation, which resulted in an arrest.
Another person received $50 for helping police solve a hit-and-run accident in which someone hit a rental car. In that case, the person pulled into a snowbank after the accident, leaving a partial imprint of his license plate in the snow. The police had part of the license plate number from the imprint, but they could not find it on record, Gittleson said. It was not until the anonymous call came in that the police were able to solve the case, Gittleson said.
The Crime Stoppers board is made up of community members, and it decides how much people should be awarded for their tips.
People with tips about crimes in Routt County can report them anonymously by calling 870-NABM. Each tipster is assigned a number, allowing the person to communicate with law enforcement and claim any reward anonymously.
If the police department or Sheriff's Office makes an arrest in the case, the person who gave a tip will get a monetary award. The amount depends on the case and how much the tip helped solve it.