The Union County Crime Stoppers Board of Directors met on Wednesday morning to discuss upcoming projects and to vote on cash rewards.
Board members voted on the distribution of three cash rewards — at $50 each — for people who had called in tips that led to arrests in the last month. Chief Deputy Perry Haney said there are 11 tips from the past month that are still active. At last month’s meeting, a total of $500 in rewards were approved — three at $50, two at $75 and two at $100.
“Union County Crime Stoppers is a highly effective program,” said Haney.
The chief deputy — who has 38 years of experience in law enforcement — is a member of the Crime Stoppers board which is made up of law enforcement and local citizens. Other board members who were present on Wednesday included Freddie Gault, Michelle Shugart, Mary Ferguson-Glenn, Stephanie Kitchens and David Kitchens.
Haney also mentioned that there are not as many outstanding warrants in the Union County system as there once were, as many of them were removed due to the people involved being since deceased. Haney said one outstanding warrant that was recently discarded dated back to 1983.
How It Works
Crime Stoppers is a nationwide nonprofit organization and Union County has had its own local chapter since 2000.
Crime Stoppers allows citizens to anonymously provide information to police about criminal activity without being directly involved in the investigation process. Anyone who has a tip for Crime Stoppers can call (864) 427-0800 — a line that goes to a fusion center at the South Carolina Law Enforcement department headquarters in Columbia — and relay the information.
A tip sheet is then emailed to Union County Sheriff David Taylor, Haney and Union County Sheriff’s Office dispatch.
Tips received after hours are automatically faxed to dispatch in case they relate to crime in progress. Tips often include information about wanted persons, stolen property, warrants, current ongoing crime, drug activity, deadbeat parents, traffic violations, burglary and fraudulent checks.
Once an arrest is made based on a tip received, the person who provided the information receives a reward, ranging from $50-$1,000.
Reward amounts are determined by a point system depending on the crime and voted on by the Union County Crime Stoppers Board of Directors at monthly meetings. Crime Stoppers board meetings usually consist of 20 people, including regular members and directors.
After the amount is determined, checks are written to a Crime Stoppers tip number, which callers receive when they give information.
Callers endorse the checks by writing their tip numbers on the back, keeping the entire process completely anonymous. In the case of duplicate tips — two or more people calling in with the same information leading to an arrest — the reward is given to the first person who called in.
In other business, board members discussed plans to raise funds for the program. The program is partially supported by both Union County and the City of Union. While the city regularly donates funds to the program, expenses for the phone lines and printing of the “Union County’s Most Wanted” handouts (including more than a quarter million pages this year) are paid by the county.
Board members discussed sending out a letter to solicit donations, as well as items to display and give away at this year’s Union County Agricultural Fair.
Haney said the program owes a lot to its website — www.unionsccrimestoppers.com —and the sheriff’s office website — www.unionscsheriff.com — where names and pictures of wanted persons can be viewed. Haney also said the the program’s Facebook page has also gained a lot of popularity among Facebookers in Union County.
“We have a lot of stuff we never had before, and we’re rocking with it,” Haney said.
The next meeting of the Union County Crime Stoppers Board of Directors will be held Sept. 5.
To contact Union County Crime Stoppers, call (864) 427-0800 or 1-888-CRIME-SC.