Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Luncheon
On Wednesday, April 5th, we went to the Union Club to attend a luncheon for "Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County" which was generously financed by Mr. Christopher Hitchcock in order to acquaint more people with this fine and productive program.
Mr. Bill Jelenic, former Warrensville Heights Police Chief, and Mr. Richard McIntosh, Special Deputy with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Dept., explained the program to us. Very briefly, Crime Stoppers encourages people to come forward and anonymously provide tips regarding suspicious activity that they see taking place. According to its website, this activity might include prolonged observation of security, trespassing into a secure area and the asking of questions so probing as to go beyond curiousity. If the information offered can lead to the arrest and indictment of a suspect a reward up to $2,500.00 is a possibility. It was explained to us though that reward money is not the most important factor to get people to come forward; the anonymity is. A concerned citizen can report what she/he knows via calling a 24/7 hotline at 216-252-7463, visiting the Crime Stoppers website or texting.
This program was first founded in New Mexico in 1976 and has been in existence in Cuyahoga County since 1984; in 2012 it became under the auspices of the Sheriff's Dept. who now administers it even though it is organized as a not-for-profit organization and relies mostly on private donations and fundraising to keep it going and to finance rewards. Since 2010, the information given by concerned citizens has resulted in the prosecution of 86 homicides, 90 sex offenses, and 160 robberies. Through March of 2017 there have been 494 tips-a 46% increase since this time in 2016.
The big issue, which was discussed at the meeting, is how to make the public more aware of the existence of Crime Stoppers and its benefits which, as its literature states, includes improved relationships between the police, media, and the community as well as opportunities and motivations for the citizenry to actively work with law enforcement to prevent crime and secure justice.
More than a few people we knew were there at the Union Club for this meeting including our good friend Mr. Alex Machaskee who is a keen supporter of Crime Stoppers, and Mr. Bill Branon who told us to be sure to tell Ms. Margaret W. Wong that "the old F.B.I. guy" says to say hello to her. During lunch we sat between former Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid and Police Chief Kevin Nietert of South Euclid. Welcoming us enthusiastically, was Dr. Rustom R. Khouri, Chairman of the Board of this chapter. Plus we really enjoyed meeting and having our photo taken with Detective Nick Riegelmayer, Narcotics Unit/K-9 Unit of the Sheriff's Office who brought his K-9 companion Jax along with him.
Seriously, what we saw and what was explained to us on this day is very important and we would like "Crime Stoppers" to continue. It's gold tournament is coming up on June 19th and, even though we do not play, perhaps we can go for dinner.
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC