Local call center would make CrimeStoppers more effective, public safety group told
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
1/22/13 at 12:40 PM
Creating a local CrimeStoppers call center would cost approximately $285,000, the Public Safety Intelligence Working Group was told Tuesday.
"Those are raw numbers," Carol Bush, executive director of the Crime Prevention Network, told the working group.
Having a local resident answer calls has been shown to increase arrests, said Bush, and it makes sense for the simple reason that the local resident knows the area better.
"It localizes it, which makes it much more effective," Bush said.
CrimeStoppers is one of five crime-prevention programs operated by the nonprofit Crime Prevention Network. The network, formerly known as Tulsa Crime Commission, receives no funding from the city of Tulsa.
The additional funds would help cover the cost of three full-time employees, office space, phone service, computer software and reward funds.
The Crime Prevention Network pays a Texas firm $25,000 a year to take annonymous tips from Tulsans, Bush said.
The working group is exploring ways the city can improve communications between residents and the police when it comes to gathering annonymous tips.
Bush said it would be ideal to have Tulsa police officers available to educate residents about the city's annonymous tip line but that police don't have the manpower for that task.
Bush's other recommendations for getting the word out to residents included placing tip line information on interior bus billboards, gas station kiosks and billboards.
But one of the most effective -- and cheapest -- tools is restroom billboards, Bush said.
"Everyone has to go to the bathroom eventually," Bush said.
The Public Safety Intelligence Working Group was created by City Councilor G.T. Bynum in response to a Jan. 7 quadruple homicide at the Fairmont Terrace Apartments near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue.
The public safety working group includes representatives of the Tulsa Police Department, the Tulsa Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and news media.