Halifax County Crimestoppers is making it easier to submit anonymous tips through the use of the P3 Tips app.
Sergeant Shane Guyant of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office said, “When you make a referral you can attach photos, videos, and screenshots of text messages. It has the ability to have multimedia.”
Crimestoppers, which is now being coordinated through the sheriff’s office and Sergeant Roger Jenkins, is still maintaining the 252-583-4444 anonymous phone line. The app, however, allows payments to be made quicker once they are approved by the Crimestoppers board.
The app still offers the same privacy as the phone line. Installation doesn’t require an email address or password.
Like the phone line, a person leaving a tip is assigned a number and that number serves as an identifier should the person be eligible for a reward.
People are already using the app, said Guyant. “Since we’ve been managing Crimestoppers for the past month and a half we have significantly more tips coming by the app than the phone.”
The Crimestoppers program is important, Jenkins said, because, “People are our eyes and ears out in the public.”
The move to the app brings Crimestoppers into the use of 21st Century technology, Guyant said. “The world revolves around social media. We’re in the wheelhouse with that. If we take advantage of it, it helps us solve crimes.”
Jenkins has contacted all the local law enforcement agencies and Crimestoppers has a central contact with each agency. “He has a contact person and he can send the tip straight to them,” Guyant said. “We want the public to know this tool exists so the public can take advantage of it. We hope the payouts will increase.”
The sheriff’s office taking over the coordinating role comes following the death in June of longtime officer Charles Vaught who coordinated the program through the Roanoke Rapids Police Department. “The sheriff’s office admires everything that Charles did for the Crimestoppers program. He definitely set the foundation for us moving forward and his leadership and service to the community are sorely missed,” Guyant said.
And the Crimestoppers Board has a new chair with Richard Scott of Scotland Neck. There are currently vacancies on the board.
The all-volunteer board is responsible for determining payouts and planning fundraisers to bring in dollars for the rewards in the case a tip leads to an arrest.
Jenkins likes the app and the Crimestoppers program. “Because of the criminal activity in the county it’s a tool that gets the community involved and other agencies involved.”
Guyant said the sheriff and police chiefs are on board. “It benefits them and their communities as well.”
The Crimestoppers social media presence is on its Facebook page and a new logo is in the works, said Jenkins.