BROWARD (CBSMiami) – They say that crime doesn’t pay. But turning in criminals does and now it might pay a lot more.
Crimestoppers organizations in Broward, Miami-Dade and throughout Florida are increasing reward money for information that leads to an arrest. Officials say it’s a way to keep up with the economic times and might encourage more people to call in.
Ralph Page, Executive Director of Broward County Crimestoppers, said that the organization is responsible for the arrests of thousands of people—which includes dozens of murderers—and the seizure of millions of dollars in cash and property since its’ inception in Broward in 1981. Page believes it was time for the organization to raise the reward from $1,000, up to up $3,000.
“It was $1,000 dollars in 1981,” Page said. “That $1,000 in 1981 is probably $3,000 today.”
Page said the money for the increased rewards is coming from the Crimestoppers Trust Fund, which is built on money paid into it by convicted felons. Page said everyone convicted in Broward pays $20 into the fund.
“It’s the bad guys catching other bad guys,” Page told CBS4′s Carey Codd.
A case that qualifies for the new $3,000 reward is the murder case of Donavin Johnson, who was gunned down while walking to his home in Hollywood on June 12.
Johnson’s mother, Sonya Crudup, hopes an increase in reward money might lead to an increase in investigative leads—and eventually an arrest.
“It kind of gives the incentive for someone to come forward even more than they would just because they wanted to help out,” Crudup said.
Donavin Johnson’s family knows firsthand how important Crimestoppers is. They’re left waiting for answers about his murder and are hopeful that someone in the community sees a chance to make a few dollars while also granting a grieving family some peace of mind.
“What has been done is done,” Crudup said. “Our family does need closure and I would beg of anyone who knows any type of information to please come forward. It’s not a matter of why. (It’s) just getting these kind of people off the streets.”
Page said Crimestoppers is hoping the extra money leads to more calls and tips and encourages residents by making them feel like they can make a difference.
“It empowers the community,” he said. “It gives them a way to do something about something going on their neighborhoods. They can pick up the phone and make the anonymous phone call. And now it will give them even more money.”
If you can help investigators solve a case, call Broward County Crimestoppers at (954) 493-TIPS and Miami-Dade County Crimestoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.