Crimestoppers budget crisis – Rise in violent crime raises costs

Durham’s chapter of Crimestoppers, a nonprofit that pays for information that helps solve crimes, has already spent almost all of its budget for the year, the Raleigh News & Observer reported July 26.

In the first seven months of this year, the group has paid a total of $20,100 in rewards, only $300 short of the total for all of 1000. The group has only about $6,000 left for the year, which will only cover one or two months, chairman Pat Ellis told the N&O.

The budget was spread thinner this year, Ellis said, because of a rise in homicides and other violent crimes. Last year, the Durham police investigated 14 slayings. So far in 2000, they have investigated 21 killings and other violent crimes.

Crimestoppers is independent of the law enforcement agencies it serves. The group relies on donations and sometimes partial support from local governments. In Durham, the program will receive $22,500 in city money in the fiscal year that started this month, up from $15,000 in each of the last two fiscal years.

The program normally receives city money quarterly, but hopes to get it in a lump sum this time because of the budget shortfall.

The pay-for-tips program has made a dent in overall crime in Durham. Since it began in 1983, it has helped solve 2,373 cases and has paid out $327,000 in rewards. It has helped police seize illegal drugs with an estimated price tag of $930,000 and recover stolen property worth $3.1 million.

For full story, see the Raleigh News & Observer.

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