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Friday, January 2, 2009

Increased Snitching During Recession Hurts Crime Stoppers

The local Crime Stoppers affiliate wants to clarify something for the public: they're a nonprofit, not a police agency.

While some nonprofits feed the hungry or house the homeless, Crime Stoppers helps solve crimes. But like others nonprofits, the group is concerned about raising enough money at a time when needs are increasing.

"Crime actually goes up during hard economic times because you have more people out of work and they feel a little more desperate," said Cpl. Fred Bowie, a Charleston police officer who serves as the local Crime Stoppers coordinator. "They might be more likely to commit crimes, from passing bad checks to armed robbery."

As is, they are seeing an increase in tips over the past several months. So are counterparts throughout the state and the nation, said Frank Morea, a former chairman for Crime Stoppers of the Lowcountry.

While the increase in tips is good news, it means they need to pay out more in reward money — $100 to $1,000 depending on the quality of the information.

Since they survive on donated office space and the sweat equity of at least a dozen volunteer board members, they can get by with $20,000 to $30,000 a year.

But that money could dry up without an increase in donations.

For the first time, they are planning fundraising events and want to host a golf tournament in March.

Board Chairman James E. Jurey said it's important to continue the work, especially with the prospect of widespread financial woes making things worse.

"We're only going to be seeing the beginnings of this right now," Jurey said. "Everybody in the end is going to be affected by it. We all need to take part and we all need to be responsible."

Crime and the economy intersect

This is just so messed up its not even funny. Snake dudes snitchin for the reward money gonna put the damn Crime Stoppers out of business. Recession got everything all fuxed up.