By MARY RAINWATER
In their effort to serve and protect the residents of Anderson County, local law enforcement officers rely heavily on tips from community members to solve crimes and makes arrests.
To assist in that effort is Anderson County Crime Stoppers, a program funded by probation fees and public donations that rewards residents for the tips that successfully aid in solving crimes.
Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor reported that in 2013, the Crime Stoppers program received 314 calls, aiding in the arrest of 44 suspects and clearing 102 warrants, and awarded $19,650 in reward money.
“Those numbers are pretty close to last year’s,” the sheriff said. “It was a pretty good year for the program.”
According to Taylor, the Crime Stoppers program is operated out of the ACSO, but is utilized by city, county and state law enforcement entities. Once a call is made, the Crime Stoppers board reviews each tip and determines the reward.
Usually rewards range from $200 to $400 a tip, but it can be as high as $1,000 depending on the usefulness of the tip.
“While we do get information on crimes, tracking those numbers can be more difficult,” the sheriff said. “The biggest benefit of Crime Stoppers is catching fugitives.”
“With about one call a day last year, I would call it a very valuable tool for us,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff also reported that 2013 crime numbers in Anderson County were about the same as in 2012, with 210 burglaries, 208 thefts, 222 assaults, five rapes, 17 arsons and 43 stolen vehicles. No murders occurred in 2013 at the county level.
“Our investigators and deputies were able to clear 34 percent of those burglaries and 21 percent of the thefts, which are higher than the statewide percentages,” the sheriff said. “I am very proud of their hard work in getting those cases solved. It could not be done without their efforts.”
Taylor had no exact figures in regard to drug-related arrests, but reported that those numbers were about average as well.
“Our numbers are pretty much in line with the East Texas crime numbers,” he said. “We are just able to get more of them solved.”
Taylor reminds residents that have any information on a crime or suspect to call Anderson County Crime Stoppers at 903-729-TIPS (8477).