By STUART ERVIN
Brentwood Home Page
For nearly 30 years, Williamson County Crime Stoppers has helped law enforcement solve crimes county-wide. By STUART ERVIN
Brentwood Home Page
For nearly 30 years, Williamson County Crime Stoppers has helped law enforcement solve crimes county-wide.
Nancy Hughes, Chairman of the Board of Williamson County Crime Stoppers, described the organization as a partnership between the community, the media, and law enforcement.
“We are very important to law enforcement in that we speed up arrests, which frees up law enforcement to spend more time on making the case for court and solving other crimes,” said Hughes. “On average, there is a 96 percent conviction rate on crimes called in to Crime Stoppers.”
Most recently, Franklin Police released video of a suspect caught on surveillance camera pocketing several pairs of expensive sunglasses in June. Tips to Franklin Police and Williamson County Crime Stoppers, along with anonymous text tips to the Franklin Police Department, pointed to 30-year-old Brandon Doubler of Clarksville.
Franklin Police said this is a perfect example what a powerful force Crime Stoppers can be.
“In addition to the traditional Crime Stoppers program available in most communities, we offer our citizens the ability to provide anonymous text and web tips,” said Lt. Charles Warner with the Franklin Police Department. “The great thing about our program is that we can actually text back, engaging tipsters in real-time, two-way conversation, all while guaranteeing their anonymity. We want your information, not your name.”
Doubler, a convicted felon who was on probation at the time of his crime in Franklin, has been charged with felony theft. He is free on $1,000 bond and due in court Aug. 30.
Brentwood Police Capt. Tommy Campsey agreed that tips play an important part in solving crimes.
“We don’t actually get a lot of Crime Stopper tips on a regular basis, but we’re always interested and need people to contact the Brentwood Police Department,” he said.
Campsey added that anyone can call and leave anonymous tips at any time at the Williamson County Crime Stoppers line at (615) 794-4000.
“Crime Stoppers has helped us solve several crimes in the past and we’re big advocates of the program,” added Campsey.
While Hughes could not elaborate on specific cases that have been paid out over the last several months, she said Crime Stoppers tips have been responsible for solving thefts from Walmart, K-Mart, and Academy Sports in Cool Springs. In addition, she said tips helped take down a large meth lab and dealer in the southern part of Williamson County.
“We get many tips on drug dealers and subjects with outstanding warrants, as well as an array of other crimes, including tips that have helped solve local bank robberies and other felonies,” said Hughes.
Hughes said that since its inception in 1984, Williamson County Crime Stoppers has paid out over $90,000 in tips, and usually pays out between $3,000 and $4,000 a year.
“We do not receive money from county law enforcement as many people think,” said Hughes. “We run strictly off donations in order that the tipster can rest assured that their call is anonymous.”
She said that fundraising for Crime Stoppers can be difficult because they cannot discuss the good the organization does in detail.
“Advertising, signage, promotional items are expensive, and we have to have money to spend on keeping our name in front of people, as well as keeping our tips line funds full and ready to pay out at any time,” said Hughes. “We really need companies to help us out and be a sponsor.”
Hughes added that there are some obstacles keeping the public from calling Crime Stoppers with a tip.
“There are lots of reasons that people are reluctant to talk with law enforcement,” she said. “Fear is a big reason. They fear the court system, and some are frightened of retaliation from the criminals they would be giving information against.
“Apathy is another reason people do not want to get involved in turning someone in for a crime they committed,” Hughes continued. “A lot of times, people with information just aren’t going to give it up unless there is something in it for them – money.”
Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for a tip that leads to an arrest or conviction.
Members of the Crime Stoppers Board have to pass a background check before they can be voted onto the board. The board is made up of a chairman, vice chairman, treasurer, secretary, and at large board members. For more information about the board, contact Hughes at (615) 794-1225.
“It is my belief that someone almost always knows who commits a crime,” said Hughes. “We just have to keep our name in front of people in order to give the tipster the opportunity to make a difference in their community and lives.”