Crime is a growing concern in this community.
Particularly homicides, where the city alone reported 48 homicides in 2021, and already six this year.
“We’re trying to find ways to fight crime,” says Kevin Lavertu, 42, chairman of Fayetteville-Cumberland County Crimestoppers, the nonprofit that’s doing its part to see this is a safer place for all. “We’ve been talking about it.”
Now the Crimestoppers board is doing something about it by increasing cash rewards from a maximum of $1,000 to a maximum of $2,000 for anyone reporting knowledge of any crime to its 24/7 hotline at 910-483-TIPS (8477) that leads to the arrest of community criminals.
“Some on our board said, ‘We need to do something,’” Lavertu says.
The board did.
It didn’t hurt that the city, according to Lavertu, contributed $10,000 in grant money to the cause. And Crimestoppers board members Daryle Williams, Eric See, Nathan Howie, Luke Wheeler, Roger Blackwood, Vic Cannon, Carlos Jones, Tommy Hodge, Joe Parisi, Jim Strickland, Duncan Hubbard and Lavertu were going to use those dollars wisely.
“CrimeStoppers is a great partner for our community,” says Police Chief Gina Hawkins. “The Fayetteville Police Department has donated to the Fayetteville-Cumberland Crimestoppers since their inception. Their mission and service to our community is important for the flow of information and an anonymous means of sending our local law enforcement agencies tips on crimes.”
With Crimestoppers fundraisers canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawkins says the Police Department wanted to help Crimestoppers.
“We wanted to not only help ensure the sustainability of the program but also help push the program into the future through increased reward amounts,” Hawkins says. “The Fayetteville Police Department alone receives the most amount of tips from the program, and our goal is to help ensure tip rewards are available while attracting more information through the increased rewards. Our data shows that the majority of violent crimes in our community are usually committed by the same suspects that are typically recidivists. Tips leading to their arrest and removal from our community can have a lasting impact on the safety of our city and citizens.”
Perhaps overall crime was down in 2021.
But not homicides.
No argument from Hubbard about homicides in 2021.
“We know crime has gone up,” says Hubbard, 54, who has been involved with Crimestoppers for more than 30 years. “Look at our community, and a shooting we had Jan. 3 started off with a homicide.”
Hubbard is on the mark.
Seems like it’s one murder after another, and it certainly kept the Police Department busy in 2021. It’s wearing on the Police Department, and it’s wearing on a community’s emotions.
Don’t get the idea it’s just about homicides. It’s about armed robberies, property crimes, drug dealers, rapes, and home, business and vehicle break-ins. Crime never sleeps, and Crimestoppers has been doing its part since it was founded in 1984. It has led to the arrest of 4,553 felons, recovered more than $8.3 million in stolen property and narcotics, and has paid more than $417,000 in rewards, the Police Department said in a release.
Nor should you think that just by calling Crimestoppers you’ll receive a quick $2,000. It could be $350 or more, depending on the crime. The more serious the crime, Duncan says, the greater the cash reward. And don’t get the idea you can just call the hotline and say, “My buddy committed that crime,” and cash will be coming your way.
Investigators know bogus tips, Duncan says, and they know how to investigate legitimate tips, too.
Your crime tip is anonymous
Something else you may want to know about the Crimestoppers hotline. It’s anonymous.
“We will protect the caller’s name,” Duncan says. “You can remain anonymous, and we will pass your information to law enforcement.”
And if your tip catches a criminal in Fayetteville or Cumberland County - to include Hope Mills and Spring Lake - your information will be rewarded.
“We pay off after an arrest,” Duncan says.
Crimestoppers paid $15,000 in 2021, according to Lavertu, for hotline tips that led to the apprehension of criminals.
All of us should be pleased to know that Fayetteville-Cumberland County Crimestoppers is here for the community, and worthy of our financial support. You can do that by buying lunch or dinner at the annual Crimestoppers barbecue plate fundraiser scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 22 at the Highland Center at 2800 Raeford Road or at its annual Crimestoppers golf tournament scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.
“And we accept private donations,” Hubbard says.
Mail your donation to Crimestoppers Fayetteville, P.O. Box 58977, Fayetteville, N.C. 28305.
“We work really hard to make our community a safer community,” Hubbard says. “This is a community I live in and my children grew up in. We want our community to be safe and our children in school to be safe. Hopefully, this will help bring us back to a safe community.”
If you have knowledge of a crime, you may submit anonymous tips to Crimestoppers at http://fay-nccrimestoppers.org, by downloading the free “P3 Tips” app on a mobile device or by calling the Crimestoppers 24/7 hotline at 910-483-TIPS.
Remember, crime never sleeps.
Neither does Fayetteville-Cumberland County Crimestoppers.
Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at email@example.com or 910-624-1961.