BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Law enforcement agencies say solving crime is a two-way street, and Crime Stoppers is providing a highway full of traffic. That message was reinforced during the beginning of a three-day Mississippi Crime Stoppers Training Conference in Biloxi.
It's pretty clear what sets Crime Stoppers apart from most other law enforcement programs. It pays to prevent crime, up to $1,000, and that's not all, said Doug Adams of the Pascagoula Police Department and the chairman of the state advisory board for Crime Stoppers.
“The beauty of it is that it's anonymous,” Adams said. “It's a way for you to help us. We need citizens to help us solve crimes. We can't do it all by ourselves. A lot of times, just that little bit of information may be the thing that pushes us over the top on putting the puzzle together."
The annual conference brought about 200 law enforcement officers and community organizers together in Biloxi to network and learn how to utilize and share information more efficiently.
The program, which has been around since the 1970s, began in 1985 on the Coast. It has been active since 2010 after a hiatus, courtesy of Hurricane Katrina.
And, it has worked.
“It's not uncommon for us to get five or six emails a day providing us information on everything,” said Ron Lessner, Investigator with the Biloxi Police Department. “Recently, a Crime Stoppers tip led to Atlanta, Ga, to make an arrest on a recent murder that occurred here in Biloxi.”
For Pam Vance, of the Lauderdale County Crime Stoppers, her work is a result of her appreciation for law enforcement.
“You really don't think about how many hours you put in. You think about how many times that you are able to see those arrests,” Vance said. “It gives you a good feeling knowing that those people are out there listening to us and that they are able to help law enforcement solve crimes.”
The reward money is funded by private donations and fund raising.
The Mississippi Crime Stoppers hotline is 1-877-787-5898. Any tip will be forwarded to the correct law enforcement agency. For more information, go to