January 18, 2007

Annual Crimestoppers dinner set for March

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — It's not too early to make plans to attend the annual Carbondale-SIUC Crimestoppers spaghetti dinner in March.

The event is a main fundraiser for Carbondale-SIUC Crimestoppers, Inc., which helps Carbondale police and the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety solve crimes.

The spaghetti dinner is March 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Carbondale Middle School, 1150 E. Grand Ave.

Crimestoppers provides a telephone number where citizens anonymously report information that may help police solve crimes. Callers receive a code number they refer to when calling back with additional information, or to check on the status of information they have provided. The caller is eligible to receive up to a $1,000 reward if their information leads to an arrest. The organization relies upon donations to provide monetary rewards.

Police rely on information they receive, SIUC police officer Scott Miller said.

"We get a few calls that lead to arrests or other information pertaining to crimes," he said. "We rely on them heavily to help us generate leads and tips."

The local Crimestoppers' program — which started in 1992 — has been "a very good success as far as getting tips we might not otherwise be able to get," Carbondale police officer Randy Mathis said.

Since 1993, when the rewards originated, 148 cases have been solved with rewards totaling $29,950, Mathis said. In 2006, Crimestoppers received 100 calls, with eight tips resulting in arrests, and $3,250 paid out to anonymous callers.

A Crimestoppers' board of directors oversees the program and makes decisions on paying out rewards. Representatives of both Carbondale and SIUC police departments serve as board advisers.

For more information on Crimestoppers or for spaghetti dinner tickets, contact Mathis at 618/453-3200, ext. 428, or Miller at 618/453-3771.

Anyone with information about a crime may call the Crimestoppers' anonymous tip line at 618/549-COPS (549-2677).