A milestone was reached Wednesday after Webster County Crime Stoppers received its 500th tip through the TipSoft program.
The 500th tip was announced by Lt. Kelly Hindman, District 7 commander for the Iowa State Patrol, Wednesday afternoon.
Tips provided to Crime Stoppers are critical to solving crimes, according to Hindman.
"Often, modern television sensationalizes technological advances in police work while undervaluing pieces of information from the public," Hindman said in a written statement. "The cold truth is that law enforcement needs an engaged public to be successful at providing safer communities."
Crime Stoppers President Dan Streit called the 500th tip a "great occasion" and that the local chapter is seen as a leader in working to prevent crime.
"It shows the cooperation and hard work our law enforcement has done across the board," Streit said. "Our system seems to be working and other Crime Stoppers units are looking at us to see how we do it."
Streit said Crime Stoppers remains dedicated to fighting crime in Webster County.
"We'll continue to help in serving our law enforcement," he said. "And hopefully we'll continue TipSoft for a long period of time and it'll keep doing the job it's been doing."
TipSoft was adopted by Crime Stoppers in 2009, and accepts anonymous tips through both text messages and email.
It also allows law enforcement to continue speaking with the tipster to help gain more information from them. The whole time, the tipster remains anonymous.
The very first tip came in on April 17, 2009.
"Since that day these 500 tips have produced over 2,650 additional conversations held in dialogue with tipsters to gather additional crucial information," Hindman said. "The tool is used 58 percent for text tips and 42 percent for email tips."
TipSoft is monitored constantly.
Hindman said tips to the program have involved felonies such as murder, kidnapping and sexual abuse as well as traffic citations, nuisance animals and wanted persons.
TipSoft is supported by Crime Stoppers members, donations and grants.
"We celebrate this historic landmark in our organization and look forward to continuing our efforts to make Webster County a safer place," Hindman said.
Webster County Crime Stoppers was founded in 1982 by a group of community members and local law enforcement officers. The volunteer organization offers rewards for information on suspected criminals and unsolved crimes while also supporting law enforcement efforts to stop crime.