Source: WGXA NEWS FOX24 ABC16
MACON, Ga.– “Who do you call when there’s a problem? 911. And who do they call? Us.”
In a particularly violent year, Macon Regional Crimestoppers is working hard to keep the streets as safe as possible, operating between Macon and the eight surrounding counties of Monroe, Jones, Twiggs, Houston, Peach, Crawford, Wilkinson, and Baldwin.
Corporal Greg Thomas has overseen Crimestoppers since 2017. Before then, he served as a deputy for the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. As he puts it, “we assist law enforcement to apprehend criminals.”
They’ve done exactly that. Since the year 2000, 9,504 cases have been cleared because of Crimestopper tips. Just this year, 145 arrests have been made. Of the 15 currently most wanted in the area, 9 have been apprehended.
“We are working with our partners for the violent offenders and gun crime offenders to reduce the number of homicides.”
He says that Crimestoppers is a team effort that would be nothing without the help of citizens.
“The public makes all the difference. Law enforcement is a team effort that is not possible without the public,” he says.
Thomas says the process relies heavily on citizens’ anonymity. Anyone with information on a case can call the Crimestoppers and receive a tip number without having to disclose any personal information. If the tip results in law enforcement finding the suspect, the caller can visit the bank, give the teller the tip number, and walk out with a check; no ID required.
Thomas says this kind of anonymous tip sharing is what makes Crimestoppers successful.
“It’s a way the program serves the public and law enforcement as a confidential source for the public to share what they know without the fear of retaliation.”
Aside from the sense of personal security, those with tips may also feel inclined to share information for cash rewards. Homicide tips are most valuable, and some can earn up to $2,000.
He says that during a year with such a high homicide rate (36, so far), Crimestoppers is focusing on communicating with law enforcement to move as quickly as possible; pointing out the convenience of Crimestoppers being located in the same office as the Middle Georgia U.S. Marshals Service.
Thomas says he’s proud to be able to help Middle Georgia this way.
“How does it make me feel? It makes me feel good. Especially, when you see the look on the victim’s face, when you see the feeling of accountability, which is rare today.”