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Making crime tips count and using geofencing to fight crime

(WJRT)
Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 6:48 PM EST
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(12/19/19) - It's been another busy year for Crime Stoppers of Flint and Genesee County considering the amount of tips they've received and the new technology it's using to fight crime.

Regional Director Julie Lopez says 495 tips were submitted to Crime Stoppers. Thirty-two of those tips led to a felony arrest.

"The number of tips are a little lower than the last couple of years but then again it seems to be correlating with the amount of crime because law enforcement is reporting that that has been reduced," Lopez said.

"The amount of successful tips is still a good percentage."

Whether submitting a tip through a phone call or app, your identity remains anonymous.

Lopez revealed that the tips have provided breakthroughs in some major cases this year -- but will not say which ones in order to protect the tipsters.

"We have helped solve a few different homicides this year, armed robberies, human trafficking," Lopez said.

Virgil Alexander was just 18-years-old when he was shot and killed in 2007. Along with putting up billboards like the one on Clio and Mott in Mt. Morris Township, Crime Stoppers is implementing a new way of fighting crime.

"We take tips on all crimes," Lopez said.

Now, how you deliver your tip to Crime Stoppers of Flint and Genesee County -- just got a tech upgrade thanks to OUTFRONT Media.

Crime Stoppers places billboards like Alexander's in the vicinity of where a crime happened, hoping to increase the chance of someone coming forward with credible information.

With the help of geofencing -- in that same targeted area -- if you're on an app or website connected to OUTFRONT Media -- you will see a banner ad within the app at the bottom of your device.

OUTFRONT apps include the popular ESPN and WeatherBug, among others.

"In that targeted area it will pop up, something about Crime Stoppers," Lopez said. "Do you know who killed me or do you know about this crime, and then you click on it and then it takes you to a landing page, and on that landing page."

From there you have the option to leave the tip anonymously where Lopez says there is no tracking of IP addresses or phone numbers.

Crime Stoppers is hoping to get 50,000 eyes on a crime case in a four week period -- and it does not pop up on every phone in the area. Alexander's case is one of the first to use the new tool.

Lopez relates to the crime victims she helps on a personal level. The murder of her father-in-law remains unsolved. She wants these families to know there is hope for them.

"I do hold on to hope because I see how hard the detectives are working and that they want to solve these crimes, and I am seeing that these tips are helping," Lopez said.

Lopez says they've awarded $13,000 this year and $100,000 since 2014.