Tips do help fight crime, police say

A man was drunk when someone stomped on his head outside a West Street bar this past year.

His wounds left him in a coma, and for a while, police didn't think he would survive.

But an anonymous caller gave a tip to Crime Stoppers that was key to solving the case. The tip led investigators to a key witness, police say. Police expect the victim to live. A man has been charged with aggravated battery.

Officials on Thursday mentioned that case and others as examples of how anonymous tips to the Crime Stoppers program are helping combat crime.

This year, Crime Stoppers has received 1,500 tips through November, compared with 1,429 for all of 2009, Crime Stoppers board president Galen Davis said Thursday in a presentation at City Hall with representatives of law enforcement agencies that are partners with Crime Stoppers.

In the first 11 months this year, Crime Stoppers tips resulted in 75 arrests, the capture of 26 fugitives and the clearance of 34 cases, the program said.

Crime Stoppers calls itself "a not-for-profit organization of citizens against crime," which is funded by donations from the public.

People can anonymously report crime to Crime Stoppers three ways:

* By calling 316-267-2111.

* By giving an anonymous tip online at www.wsccs.com.

* By sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) and beginning the text message with TIP217.

This year, anonymous tips have helped law enforcement seize $225,000 in property and drugs — more than 10 times the amount seized last year.

One anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers led to the seizure of a gun, cash and methamphetamine valued at $120,000.

Another tip prompted the arrest of a man suspected in two bank robberies.

Citizen involvement is by far the most effective way to solve crimes, said Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz. "We rely on that."

Stolz credited much of the crime-fighting success to "Midwestern values" and residents who won't tolerate "crime being part of the status quo."

Through November, the Crime Stoppers program has awarded $8,350 for tips, but only $5,580 of it has been collected. It shows that people aren't in it just for the money, Davis said.