Totally eliminating crime from our communities is a goal that can never be achieved fully, but there's a good deal that can be done to move closer to that ideal.
High-quality, professional law enforcement is a vital part of any game plan to get crime under control. Even the best policing can't be effective, however, unless citizens do their part to keep crime at bay.
That's where Crime Stoppers enters the picture.
Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes members of the community to help generate the information critical to identifying and capturing criminals. It's based on the assumption that when a crime occurs, there are often people who have information police officials need. People fail to come forward for various reasons. Some fear reprisal. Others are apathetic or worry about assorted ramifications of "getting involved."
The Crime Stoppers program addresses these issues by offering people a way to provide information anonymously and providing cash rewards for information that leads to arrests.
The first Crime Stoppers organization was launched in New Mexico 32 years ago. The idea caught on quickly. Today Crime Stoppers boasts affiliates throughout the United States and in many other countries.
Here in Webster County, Crime Stoppers has been an asset to law enforcement for more than a quarter century. Former Mayor Herb Conlon founded the local group and was its longtime leader. He has recently been succeeded as president by Larry Leiting, who was for many years a prominent Fort Dodge businessman. Conlon remains involved with the group as an adviser.
The impact of Webster County Crime Stoppers has been impressive. The following statistics for the period 1995 through 2008 demonstrate the group's impact:
Those on the Most Wanted list who have been captured: 815;
Number of cases cleared: 1,203;
Value of property recovered: $2,849,000; and
Meth labs shut down: 259.
During these 13 years, Crime Stoppers has paid out $74,750 in rewards.
The Messenger applauds this extraordinary effort. Herb Conlon's vision and determination has paid huge dividends for this community. With Larry Leiting at the helm, we have confidence that Crime Stoppers' record of success will continue unabated.
To learn more about Crime Stoppers, call 573-1444 or (800) 542-9702 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.