October Marks 10-Year Anniversary of Hernando County Crime Stoppers

Hernando County Crime Stoppers is celebrating 10 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Hernando County.

On October 5, 2005, the Hernando County Crime Stoppers opened their telephone lines for the very first time. It took a few days before the first tip came in. Once the first tip came, others slowly followed. Then, people became familiar with the concept and Crime Stoppers became what it is today – – a great tool for both conscientious citizens and law enforcement alike.

Since inception in 2005, Hernando County Crime Stoppers has accrued the following statistics:

• Number of Tips Received 6,928
• Number of Arrests Made 493
• Number of Cases Cleared 637
• Number of Fugitives Captured 150
• Number of Rewards Approved $45,800
• Number of Rewards Paid $16,535
• Number of Weapons Recovered 10
• Property Recovered $119,650
• Illegal Narcotics Seized $726,593
• Total Dollar Amount Recovered $846,243.

One very important piece of information that the Board of Directors of Hernando County Crime Stoppers would like to share about this program is that the tipster IS completely anonymous in all cases.

Calls and internet tips are received in a call center outside of the United States. Telephone calls are NOT tracked by caller ID, and computer tips are NOT tracked by IP address. It makes no difference where the tip is coming from, only that someone took the time to provide it.

Information is received by call center operators and sent to Hernando County Crime Stoppers for assignment to the appropriate law enforcement agency for action. When the tipster calls in the tip, he or she is provided with a tip report number. The tipster calls Hernando County Crime Stoppers on a designated day, between certain hours, to determine if his or her tip was useful to law enforcement.

If the tip was useful, a reward is determined (based on several circumstances). When the tipster calls in to check on his or her reward, he or she is provided with a random “code word” and the name of a local bank. The tipster (or a representative) can then go inside the bank or to the drive-thru, provide the tip number and “code word,” and receive the cash reward. No questions asked, and no photo identification needed.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, “We really appreciate the partnership that we have with Hernando County Crime Stoppers, putting wanted fugitives behind bars, getting illegal narcotics and weapons off the streets, and recovering stolen property.”

You will notice on the statistics, the Rewards Approved is much higher than the Rewards Paid. This is due to many tipsters never picking up their reward money. Board members feel this is because tipsters provide information to the tip line in an effort to rid wanted persons and/or criminal activity from their neighborhoods, not because they want a reward.

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