Crime Stoppers returning to South Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Crime Stoppers returning to South Mississippi

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Crime Stoppers is scheduled to start back up in South Mississippi this summer for the first time since Katrina. Beginning June 1, 2010, residents of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties will be able to report tips to the crime stoppers hotline without authorities ever knowing who they are. 

The November murder of billiards player Michael Surber has been perplexing Ocean Springs Police investigator Lt. John Flowers since it happened.  There are still no arrests as leads run cold, but Flowers is confident the crime will be solved.

"I believe that ultimately that investigation will be closed as a result from a tip from the community," said Flowers.

This crime is one of the many police believe could be solved, at least in part, by the public.  In fact, Flowers said recently, an anonymous tip led to an arrest in a two-year-old armed robbery case.

Crimes like these have motivated law enforcement officers in South Mississippi to revive the Crime Stoppers tip line for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Sgt. Doug Adams of the Pascagoula Police Department is one of the men behind the project.

"In the past this has been extremely helpful," said Adams of the program in the past.

Through Crime Stoppers, the public will be able to anonymously report tips to a hotline at any hour of the day.  Adams said the phones will be manned by an independent company, who will pass them along to the proper law enforcement agencies.  If a tip leads to arrest, the tipster could gain a reward.

"Crime Stoppers does pay up to $1,000 on the arrest of a particular crime," said Adams.  "But still, everything remains anonymous."

Investigators said they believe the public often has the answers they need to solve crimes, and Crime Stoppers will provide a new outlet for the public's input.

"They want to remain anonymous because they're fearful; they may know the person," said Flowers.  "When we receive information from the public, we don't release that information.  They remain anonymous as promised, but this program Crime Stoppers helps to ensure their anonymity."

"This gives people a chance, that are afraid of their neighbors seeing them talk to law enforcement or something like that, that they can call in, remain anonymous and provide us with good information about crimes that happened in a community or are going to happen in a community," said Adams.

The program is set to kick off June 1 at the Hard Rock Casino. After that date, the hotline is expected to be available to take tips by phone call or text message.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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