COLORADO SPRINGS- When crimes happen across Southern Colorado it can be tough for investigators to get important information even from the victims themselves. The investigators then turn to the anonymous tips from the Crime Stoppers hotline. Law enforcement leaders tell News 5 Investigates in 2018 tips came in by the thousands. The Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers covers El Paso and Teller Counties. In 2018 the program generated roughly 2,000 tips leading to at least 39 arrests. Pueblo Crime Stoppers also saw more than 2,000 tips in 2018 helping to make 66 arrests.
In Pueblo the Crime Stoppers program has been around since 1983. It hinges on a detective appointed to work as a liaison between the police department and the Crime Stoppers board who funds the reward payouts.
“He’s our coordinator and keeps us moving along and keeps the tips going where they need to be,” said Pueblo Crime Stoppers President Chuck Granato.
In 2018 Pueblo Crime Stoppers paid out $6,280 in reward money for tips that helped investigators close cases. In Pueblo the payouts are determined through a point system.
“Whatever the crime was it has points to it. So like I say, It can go from $50 or it can go to $2,000 for a major homicide,” said Granato.
The Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers also provided information to officers leading to nearly 40 arrests as a result of anonymous tips paying out about $4,300 in tip rewards. In El Paso County alone, hundreds of tips came in aimed at helping investigators crackdown on illegal drug activity.
“And every one of those tips is followed up. It may not be as quickly as I would like, or as the public would like, but every one of these tips gets addressed and gets human eyes put on it and we check a lot of the intelligence that we are able to around these addresses,” said El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder.
Since Pueblo Crime Stoppers started in the 80s law enforcement seized more than 14 million dollars in illegal drugs and sent almost 2500 people to jail. The ability to report crime and suspect information anonymously remains an important tool for officers.
“When you make the call nobody knows you. Not the call center, not us, not the police department,” said Granato.
In the Pikes Peak Region investigators tell me they are working on following up at least 72 anonymous crime tips.
Both Pueblo Crime Stoppers and the Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers programs are fueled by donations. For information on how to make a tip call, or donate to the cause visit: https://www.crimestop.net/ or http://www.pueblocrimestoppers.com