Early Response to Increased Crime Stoppers Payouts

Police say that this week’s bump in the rewards paid by the Crime Stoppers program is already showing results.

The payouts have increased for tips that lead to arrests in shootings and homicides and investigators say they’ve been getting detailed information about crimes since the plan was announced.

People we spoke with on Thursday said they see this as a step in the right direction.

In the daylight, walking home from filling out job applications, Erin Reed felt somewhat safe but she remains unsettled because gunfire has become a normal sound in her neighborhood.

“Sometimes it's just one shot,” she said. “Sometimes it is a rapid succession of shots and it always sounds like fireworks, so it just kind of goes over my head and I just ignore it because it is so frequent."

To combat the problem, Omaha Police announced that with the help of private donors the rewards for good information leading to arrests in shootings and homicides have been increased to $10,000 and $25,000.

In 1998 and 1999, banks in Omaha were increasingly becoming the target of robberies. The incentive was increased then and helped buck that trend.

We checked on the progress of this latest addition to the reward money over the past 24 hours.

OPD Crime Stoppers Coordinators James Shade said, “We had a few tips come in, but those tips were very detailed and have a lot of good information that may actually lead out to a solid arrest. That is the type of tip that we would pay on."

Officer Shade says a key aspect of the program is letting tipsters know they will remain anonymous no matter what. Even the phone line where calls come in display nothing about the caller.

“They never give their name and they never give their phone number, so if we don't have it, it is never written down anywhere. No one else will have it ever."

That’s comforting to Reed who believes the risk may be too high for some.

She said, “If you get found out that you snitched, you would be in a whole lot of deep stuff, with a whole lot of bad people."

If information does lead to a reward payment, a tipster would be given a special number when they first call. If they check back in and find out their information is good, they take their ID and are given a special password. They’re told to go to a secured bank, through the drive through, hand over that information and the money comes back out to them.

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