Originally created 01/25/00

Crime Stoppers will go statewide



AIKEN -- Building on the success of a program that asks anonymous tipsters to turn in criminals for cash, South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon visited Aiken on Monday to announce the formation of a statewide Crime Stoppers organization.

"For the very first time, there will now be a central point in South Carolina to which the citizen can go to provide anonymous crime tips," Mr. Condon said Monday at a noon luncheon at Savannah River Site.

There are already 20 communities with their own Crime Stoppers organizations, including chapters in Aiken County and at SRS. The statewide program aims to fill in the gaps of rural areas and counties that do not have a chapter.

Financing the reward money will come through private donations, Mr. Condon said.

Minutes after the announcement, Dr. Lawrence Brede, senior vice president and general manager of Wackenhut Services Inc., the security contractor for SRS, announced a donation of $1,000 to kick off the state program.

"It's to help them get off the ground and running so they can appeal to other corporations," Dr. Brede said.

The attorney general's announcement coincided with a daylong Crime Stoppers workshop, which aimed to assist Crime Stoppers organizations, police coordinators, media representatives and educators in better implementing programs in their local communities. To accomplish that, organizers invited leaders of successful programs to speak, including people from Charlotte, N.C., Winston-Salem, N.C., Greenville and at SRS.

David Wilson with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department demonstrated how his agency joined together with the local school system to drastically reduce and prevent crime on school campuses.

As a first step to forming the statewide Crime Stoppers organization, Mr. Condon appointed a citizen advisory committee, whose task will be to take additional steps to get the program running and establish a governing board.

ReachGreg Rickabaugh at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.