Proclamation declares week for Crime Stoppers

By Dan Jacobson

Evil-doers beware, the DeKalb County Crime Stoppers program is alive and well.

DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow signed a proclamation declaring this week “Crime Stoppers Week in DeKalb.” To celebrate, every McDonald’s restaurant in DeKalb County agreed to use Crime Stoppers place mats to help the program maintain a high profile in the community.

“Crime Stoppers has proven to be somewhat successful in our neck of the woods,” Sparrow commented.

Capt. Jim Laben of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department said the program uses the public, the media and the police to help in solving local crimes.

Anyone with information on a recent crime can call the Crime Stoppers phone number. If the information leads to the arrest and filing of criminal charges against felony crime offenders, the caller can receive a cash reward without having to reveal their identity.

Laben said the process involves the caller being given a number they are responsible for remembering. The coordinator who took the call contacts the police department of the town where the crime was committed.

“We usually ask that they call back within a week and if they helped us solve the crime, we’ll put in for a reward at our next board meeting,” Laben said.

Laben said the 24-member board consists of residents from “all walks of life. There are some policemen as well as farmers, homemakers and businessmen. It’s a pretty good cross-section of the county.”

Laben added the minimum reward given is $100 and the maximum is $1,000. “We arrive at the amount rewarded by the seriousness of the crime.

“The amount is always in cash and we let the person (who gave the tip) pick the most comfortable way for us to deliver the money,” Laben said. “We’ve had to meet out in the country, sometimes the person sends someone in for them, and we’ve mailed the money to a certain post office box before.”

Laben said the money for the rewards comes totally from donations. To organize the collection of the money, “we have the 100 Club where the members donate at least $100 to go toward Crime Stoppers. We get donations from organizations, service clubs, industries and private people.”

Barry Melton, president of the Crime Stoppers Board said the more publicity the program gets, the more effectively it can serve the public. “I’m glad that Crime Stoppers is being recognized. The more people that know about the program, the better it can be of use to everyone.”

The county-wide program was established in 1982 by several area businessmen, farmers and police officers. Laben said the program has been very helpful over the years.

“We wanted to commemorate the program being in existence and let the people know that it is still an important part of the police service,” Laben said.