As local Law Enforcement work to catch suspects from crimes over the weekend, there's another group hard at work as well. They're called the Augusta Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers is an international organization and there's a branch right here in Augusta.
The Augusta Crime Stoppers work in a different way from law enforcement. Instead of patrolling and using force to stop crime, they ask for tips. Tips they say have gotten criminals off of local streets.
When crime happens, deputies and investigators go to work to try to solve it. But, it's not only law enforcement officers that are hitting the streets, so are volunteers, about 300 of them. Griff Griffin is the executive director of the Augusta Crime Stoppers, “Augusta Crime Stoppers helps encourage local people to cooperate with the police in finding the most dangerous criminals in the entire area.”
The goal of this non-profit group is to get tips, anonymous tips from the community, they then turn those over to police. Tips can lead to rewards. In fact, all donations to the Augusta Crime Stoppers go towards reward money—like this $10,000 offer to help solve this 2012 murder of Hester Jackson.
“It helps police get more felons off of the street and that's what we've done.”
“They get a lot of information from the public.” Lt. Calvin Chew with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office says the Augusta Crime Stoppers have been successful at helping both solve and stop crime before it happens. He says people who may not be comfortable with law enforcement, find comfort in being able to give anonymous information to these volunteers. “This is what we want, community policing, we want the community involved and The Crime Stoppers, that's what they're doing.”
Like Griffin, many of the volunteers are victims of crime themselves. He says they know first-hand what crime can do to families and the community, “They care about our whole city, they know that if we don't stop crime, crime will stop us.”
If you have a tip, you can call or text (803) 441-8744 or send them a message on through their Facebook Page. If you'd like to make a donation to go towards reward money, go to http://www.augustacrimestoppers.org.