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Crime Stoppers Still 'Busy And Effective' After 35 Years

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Many times media reports about crime include the number for Crime Stoppers, 352-3040. People call with tips that police use to identify suspects or find people who are evading arrest.  

In its 35 years, Greater Cincinnati Crime Stoppers has paid out more than $2 million in reward money and helped solve 16,000 crimes.  

The head of the local chapter said his organization remains "busy and effective." Eugene Ferrara addressed City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee this week.  

He said it is important to remember the group is not about finding witnesses to testify in criminal cases.

"We're only looking for tips that are leads that the police can use to follow-up," Ferrara said. "And, with that, hopefully develop evidence and witnesses who will come forward and testify. We don't expect that our tipsters are going to come forward and testify because to do that, as I say, we would be giving up the anonymity, which is the bedrock of our whole program."

The amount of reward money from Crime Stoppers depends on the quality of the tip. In some cases, the group will pay $2,500 for a tip that leads to an arrest in a homicide case.  

People who call with tips are given a tipster number and collect a reward if the information leads to an arrest. The group meets tipsters in neutral locations with payments and no questions asked.

Ferrara said many times people ask why doesn't the group increase the reward amounts.

"While I personally feel for people who are victims of crimes and I feel for families whose members were victims of homicide, we have to try to sustain the program," Ferrara said. "And we need to make sure that we protect the program. And some of these things that people would like to do, that even I might personally like to do, creates some issues of risk to us and to our program."

On average, Crime Stoppers pays out about $8,000 a month in reward payments. Ferrara said the group raises more than $100,000 a year in donations.