Crime Stoppers has been an effective tool in Stokes County for more than 32 years. The organization works to reduce crime in the community and establish better relationships between the public and law enforcement agencies.
“It’s been very active in the last two or three years. Most of all tips in the past came through communications dispatch. Now, I’d be willing to say at least 90 percent are through social media,” said Stokes County Sheriff Mike Marshall.
Marshall believes the organization is vital in a rural county like Stokes.
“I think it’s due to the fact that homes are spread out more and you have residents who help look after their neighbors,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that don’t like to get involved, but see things that happen and want to see the crime stopped.”
The monetary amount given out by crime stoppers can range from $100 to $1,000.
“It depends on the crime itself and how valuable the information is. The payoffs are done for the information that leads to the arrest and the conviction of a crime. Ninety-nine percent of the time we don’t need their testimony; we just need the information.”
Crime stoppers can receive 30 to 40 tips per month, half of them drug related.
“We get a lot of people who supply information through Facebook. Sometimes you almost have everything you need. If it’s a break-in we could have everything from fingerprints to DNA, and receiving information speeds up the process. Once you have a suspect, instead of having to match DNA to several hundred thousand, you try and match it to one person.”
Marshall said the current crime stoppers board has worked to keep the organization running smoothly.
“It’s been revamped and set up so there’s members throughout the county who are actively involved. And it’s not just a tool for the sheriff’s department. It’s for the fire marshal’s office, the police department, probation and parole, drugs, highway patrol, a resource for anyone working the cases of criminal activity.”
Crime Stoppers chair person, David Weavil has served in leadership for the past two and a half years, and helped unite the board. The group meets quarterly in the library at different locations throughout the county.
“We focus a lot on fundraising mainly because we don’t receive tax dollars. It isn’t funded so we depend on donations either by individuals or organizations,” Weavil explained. “In some cases folks who had an occurrence happen to them might put a reward through.”
Board Chairman and Captain Danny Bottoms said there are a variety of ways to donate to Stokes Crime Stoppers.
“We use United Way. Since we’re a 501 C3 non-profit organization we’re listed with the United Way so your employer can designate funds to go to Stokes County Crime Stoppers. We have people in the county who’ve taken advantage of this and it’s been a tremendous help,” Bottoms said.
For Amazon customers, Amazon Smile allows you to select a charitable organization and a percentage of your purchase will go towards Stokes Crime Stopper at no extra cost.
For direct donations, mail to Stokes County Crime Stoppers Inc., c/o Stokes County Sheriff’s Office, P.O. Box 118, Danbury NC 27016.
“No donation is too small or too big,” Marshall said. “A little goes a long way.” Have a tip for crime stoppers? Contact 1-800-222-8506 or visit http://www.co.stokes.nc.us/.
Also, submit a tip on the regularly updated Stokes County NC Sheriff app.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-24426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.