Behind The Scenes: Crimestoppers

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

November 8, 2012

Law enforcement does a great job of helping the community every single day. But the Crimestoppers program allows the community to help the police when they need it.

After the police do all they can to find a criminal but hit a wall, there's a point when they turn to the community for help.

"We're relying on the public to help us catch certain people or give us certain information. And that's just another part of the partnership we have with the community," Captain Gary Pleasants said.

977-4000 is the Crimestoppers hot-line and it's manned 24 hours a day by Sergeant Marc Brake of the Charlottesville Police Department who takes turns with an officer at the Albemarle County Police Department.

Tips are called in daily with information on the people police are after. Crimestoppers has helped solve every type of crime, including murder.

"We'll put them out on television and the Crimestoppers calls usually start coming in, so we'll find them pretty quickly. There's always someone who knows who we're looking for and will call in," Pleasants said.

If the new information on the criminal is a new home address, police will take their time to make sure they get them at the right time

"We won't just run in and possibly ruin the information we just received. We're going to investigate and make sure we're doing things the correct way and we can use the information appropriately,"

Sergeant Brake says he gets an average of 3 to 5 calls a day to the Crimestoppers phone.

Callers know they will remain anonymous and are given a number instead of their name. And if their information is correct and helps the investigation they receive a payment in return.

"There's people who refuse the money, we've had people say they're not looking for the money, they just want to help us get these people off the street," said Pleasants.

Sergeant Brake says, in Charlottesville, there is no "Top Ten Most Wanted" list like in the movies but when the police are after someone for a while, tips from Crimestoppers is what does help catch the bad guys.

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