Bossier Crime Stoppers continues to seek anonymous assistance from the community

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Jennyne Pinter, jpinter@bossierpress.com

Crime Stoppers is hard at work collecting tips for Bossier’s law enforcement. 

The national organization pays for tips about criminal activity that leads to an arrest. The anonymous hotline is the most familiar way of reporting information but there are other options such as submitting a tip online at the Crime Stoppers website, through Facebook or with a free mobile app.  

“I think Crime Stoppers is probably the best outlet there is for news about crimes,” said Jerry Kutz, president of Crime Stoppers.  “We are a completely independent organization, we have nothing to do with law enforcement. Our bylaws require that we cannot have anybody on our board of directors or anybody that is associated with law enforcement.”

During their monthly meeting, the police are represented by liaisons from the Bossier Sheriff’s Department and the Bossier Police Department. These liaisons give the Crime Stoppers board a listing of how many and what type of tips they had received during the month. 

In Kutz’s experience, about 90 percent of the tips are drug-related, such as suspicious traffic patterns at a neighboring home indicating drug dealing, or a stereotypical crack house which may be poorly maintained and has a transient group of people coming and going.

“They had one that was solved the other day,” Kutz said.  “I think the one that had to do with the break-ins at different camps. And there was the shooting on the interstate the other day and several Crime Stopper tips came through on that. There’s a lot of calls. It seems like a very good system and it works in conjunction with the police department.”

Tips can be in regards to a crime that is already under investigation or a crime that has not been noticed by law enforcement, such as child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, burglaries and property damage.

“There is a database, or a calculation, that Crime Stoppers has come up with to say that if it’s a robbery it’s worth ‘X’ amount of dollars, or if it’s a homicide it’s worth ‘X’ number. Each crime has its own set amount,” Kutz said.

The tipster remains completely anonymous throughout the whole process regardless of which format they use to impart information. The phone lines, both national and local, have no caller ID, and no personal profile can be accessed through the use of the website or social media outlets.

Kutz pointed out that the biggest obstacle still remains gaining the trust of citizens. It is a goal of Crime Stoppers to maintain a presence in the community and be known as a trustworthy source. 

“A lot of people don’t realize just how much this is anonymous. It’s very smooth.  They feel, and they should feel, anonymous.”

Crime Stoppers is able to pay on tips due to a small monthly check they receive from a percentage of the city and parish courts’ collected fines.

“That only goes towards tips,” Kutz says about the monthly income.  “We can’t spend that on outreach to the community.”

Crime Stoppers will fund outreach events and promotional materials by holding fundraisers. In 2015, Oliver North spoke as a guest of honor at a dinner and then General Honore was guest at last year’s event.  Also, recently the Bossier City Marshal’s office has donated a car to Crime Stoppers which they will wrap with the name and contact information and be able to drive in parades and at public events.