Crime Stoppers of Michigan expands into Genesee County - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Crime Stoppers of Michigan expands into Genesee County

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(01/21/14) - They push the public to speak up, anonymously, to help solve crimes. And they pay.

The Detroit-based Crime Stoppers of Michigan is opening a new office in Flint to serve the city and Genesee County. There's a new phone number associated with it too - 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

It takes over for the all volunteer Flint Area Crime Stoppers which officials say ran out of funding.

The new Genesee County office be housed inside the Flint Police Department.

Julie Lopez, whose father-in-law Pablo Lopez was murdered in Flint in 2011, is heading it up.  His case is still unsolved.

"It's very personal for me," Lopez said. "My degree is in horticulture. That's a far cry from crime."

Crime Stoppers of Michigan has a staff of 15 who work mostly in southern, lower Michigan.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert worked with them when he worked in Detroit and said it just made sense to bring them on here.

John Broad, President and CEO of Crime Stoppers of Michigan, said they have a lot of success in urban areas. Broad said $90,500 was approved for payout in 2013.

"Flint needs us," he said.

Tipsters may notice another change - reward amounts have been increased for calls about homicide cases.

A tip leading to an arrest tied to an unsolved homicide could get you up to $2,500.  Callers could previously earn up to $1,000 for all felony cases. A cash reward of up to $1,000 is still available for all other felony crime arrests. 

There was a strong show of support from local, state and federal authorities when the announcement about the news office was made Tuesday afternoon.

All stressed the need for help from you and how they are able to follow through with that information.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton pointed to the serial stabber, Elias Abuelazam, case and also revealed a tip is what started the Pierson Hood investigation.

"It started with a call to a police officer," Leyton said.

Lopez is hopeful she can be the source others in her situation need.

"I know I can help other families."

If you'd like to report a tip in the Flint and Genesee County area, please use 1-800-SPEAK-UP starting now.

The former number, 1-800-422-JAIL, is still the number for Mid-Michigan Crime Stoppers which serves the Saginaw and Bay County area.  If someone from the 810 area code calls that number, it gets routed to the SPEAK UP number. Crime Stoppers of Michigan will work with Mid-Michigan Crime Stoppers to ensure tips are disseminated to the proper law enforcement agencies.

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