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The local GREAT FALLS/CASCADE COUNTY CRIMESTOPPERS began in 1985 with a Board of Directors made up of citizen who volunteered to serve their community, and is coordinated by the Cascade County Sheriff's Office and Great Falls Police Department. CRIMESTOPPERS is a non-profit organization completely overseen by the Board of Directors. All rewards are paid from contributions received from the community and do not use any tax dollars.

The concept of CRIMESTOPPERS was to offer anonymity and case rewards to persons who furnish information leading to the arrest and the filing of charges against criminal offenders and to capture fugitives.

During the very first year the CRIMESTOPPERS program paid its first $1,000.00 reward for a tip received for a fatality that occurred during a hit-and run auto accident. By the end of the first year the CRIMESTOPPERS program had led to 166 arrests, 137 convictions, $188,922 of recovered stolen property and narcotics, cleared 240 felony cases, and 47 misdemeanor cases.

In July 1991 CRIMESTOPPERS placed "MOST WANTED" display cases in several locations in the community to display the "most wanted" suspects in the area. The reaction from the public was overwhelming and after a short time a monthly spot within the Great Falls Tribune was created to assist in apprehending these suspects. The "MOST WANTED" program is coordinated by the Cascade County Sheriff's Office.

As of August, 2004 the CRIMESTOPPERS program has recovered one million six hundred seventeen thousand two hundred and eighty-three dollars ($1,617,283.00) worth of stolen property. Recovered a street valve of over four hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($450,000.00) of narcotics. Seized almost fifty thousand dollars is cash ($50,000.00). As well as solved over one hundred sixty five thousand dollars ($165,000.00) in Vandalism cases. Clearing eight hundred forty four (844) Felony cases and two hundred eighty six (286) Misdemeanor cases.

All of this is based on tips received from anonymous callers who received a reward if their tip resulted in an arrest.

HOW IT WORKS

There is a 24 hour hotline, 7272-TIPS (727-8477) for witnesses or persons with information to use to provide their information to CRIMESTOPPERS. All callers can remain anonymous if they wish to do so. All tips are provided with a "caller ID number" and the callers are provided the number so they can receive a reward. Once the information is received it is disseminated to the correct Law Enforcement Agency for investigation. If the information leads to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect, the caller may be eligible for a cash reward up to one thousand dollars. ($1,000.00)

Once each month the Board of Directors meets and review the TIPS received and the Reward Recommendations made by law enforcement officials from the arrests and prosecution of suspects generated from the TIPS. The Board of Directors then issue rewards to the "caller ID number".

HOW DO I RECEIVE MY REWARD?

If the TIP you provided resulted in an arrest being made you may call the CRIMSTOPPERS TIP line at 727-TIPS on the second Friday of each month, provide your "caller ID number" and be informed whether or not your TIP received a reward. If your TIP did receive an award you will be given instructions for picking-up the reward at a local banking institution.

WHY DIDN'T I RECEIVE A REWARD?

There could be several reasons why you did not receive a reward. The information although very good may need more investigation before an arrest and the reward may come later. Another reason may be the person may have already been arrested just prior to your TIP or the person could not be located.

It is very important you retain the issued "caller ID number", as this is the only way to receive a reward. If a caller becomes a frequent caller and uses the same "caller ID number" the information received may develop a pattern of being reliable thus increasing the possible rewards.

The recommendations of reward values are made by the arresting officers based on many factors that may include, but are not limited to, the location and description of suspects, vehicles driven, friends and associates, work locations, other family members, location of evidence, witnesses, and description of activities or crimes.

If you would like to provide a TIP please call 727-TIPS (727-8477).

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