Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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May 5, 2014

Crime is the target with phone line — The numbers show a bite is being taken out of crime by a Garvin County area program designed to offer cash for tips leading to arrests.

County deputy Steve Mayhan says the Garvin County Crime Stoppers program has been working well since it was established back in the fall of 2011.

According to Mayhan, a month by month list of tips received, especially from 2013 alone, indicates the vast majority of tips do result in arrests and cases being solved.

“I’m really proud of these closings,” Mayhan said. “If you don’t have the closings the tips don’t do any good.”

He gives all the credit for this success to a group effort.

“The residents make Crime Stoppers work, law enforcement makes Crime Stoppers work, the media makes Crime Stoppers work to help catch these knuckleheads,” he said.

Another important factor in making the program work is the donations given by individuals, groups and business.

This is because the non-profit program remains an independent thing that depends entirely on private donations to function.

“We have a lot of financial help,” Mayhan said. “It’s not the sheriff’s department.

“It’s a completely independent entity.”

As for the callers, they remain anonymous, while the amount of rewards given are determined by a Crime Stoppers board made up of eight members scattered across the county, which typically depends on the nature of the case.

One thing’s for sure — rewards can go all the way up to $1,000.

“The calls are not traced to a person. We don’t have any idea who’s calling in.”

Not everybody that calls in with a tip is asking for a reward. Instead, they’re simply interested in offering information that helps law enforcement with a pending case, Mayhan said.

In fact, the deputy believes it’s the callers who deserve much of the credit for the program’s success.

Many of the calls that do come are related to drugs or thefts.

“We have a big problem with meth,” Mayhan said, referring to methamphetamine. “A lot of calls are coming in on that.

“But the most calls are on burglaries,” he said about information related to thefts around the county.

The first tip ever received by this Crime Stoppers line was on a fugitive from Pontotoc County who was likely armed.

The tip led various law enforcement officers to a house, which they surrounded and quickly went in to take the suspect into custody without incident.

“When he was caught he says, ‘Who’s going to get the $1,000,’” Mayhan added.

“It was dangerous but exciting for the first one.”

In another example a tip got to law enforcement so quickly they found the suspect in the middle of unloading items from a house.

By the way — the number to call while remaining anonymous is 1-855-211-STOP.

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