30 Years of Crime Stoppers - WSMV News 4

30 Years of Crime Stoppers

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So many stories, so many criminals caught, so much reward money paid, and it is all thanks to you.

For 30 years, the Crime Stoppers program has linked your tips with investigators, providing information they might not have otherwise ever received. That has ended the run for criminals and provided answers for grieving families.

It all began with a plea and a promise. "If you know something, pick up the phone and call Crime Stoppers," said Eyewitness News Anchor Bill Markham in that first report on April 4, 1984. "Your tip could be the pone we need to make an arrest in this case. We'll never ask your name and you could get up to a thousand dollars cash."

Bill Markham helped get the program started three decades ago. He walked us through the details of each case, narrated our re-enactments, and famously flashed that reward cash. By this time, we have beamed over 1,500 Crime Stoppers cases into your living room, and with your help, many criminals have been located and taken off the streets. "It's been a wonderful tool," said Mike Mathis, newly-elected Crime Stoppers Board Chairman. "A lot of people will call in and provide information because it's anonymous."

We are often asked how we can promise that anonymity. "They don't have to give their name," Mathis explained. "They're issued a number; a code. And if that results in an arrest or the solving of a crime, up to a thousand dollars can be paid."

Through the years, we have paid out thousands, but more importantly, together with you. we have aided the cause of justice and provided answers and closure for hurting families. "There's 30 years of success," Mathis said. "We want to continue that and the community, the greater-Chattanooga area community is what's made it a success."

The Crime Stoppers program covers and includes cases from all across the Channel 3 viewing area. The reward money comes from private donations. The board members are volunteers, meaning the funds collected can be passed along to you for your good information.

While we certainly thank the board members for their service, we thank you, the viewer, for your participation. Without you, your eyes and ears, and your tips to 698-3333, in many cases, bad guys would not be caught, justice would not be served, and families would still be searching for answers.

Here's to another 30 years.

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