BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce is working to bring the national Crime Stoppers program to Blytheville.
Chamber Executive Director Liz Smith says the chamber has strong support from local government and Crime Stoppers USA.
"Our city government is very interested in doing this and we were pleased to be able to collaborate on this. The police have been very cooperative," she said. "We will be a member of the national program. The national program has been very supportive. They're very good at helping in the formulation of new groups."
Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $1000 to a person who provides anonymous information that leads to felony arrests.
Smith says one of the first tasks in establishing the non-profit organization in Blytheville is selecting committed board members.
"Most of the participants on the initial board, they will at one point begin to meet probably on a fairly regular basis and they will actually determine, based on arrests and information from the police, they will determine the amounts of rewards," she said. "We need people who are passionate about the impact of crime on a community and want to be helpful, people who are objective and who are really interested in dedicating themselves."
"I was born and raised in Blytheville and I have noticed a huge change in the crimes here. It's more than what I'm used to. We're used to some violence, but the violence now has been unbearable," said Michelle King, who moved to Jonesboro one year ago.
King hopes establishing a Crime Stoppers program in the city will be helpful.
"I pray that it (does help) and people will step up and say, 'This is what is going on in my community,' and be willing to make a change in it."
"And I'm hoping that once people do start to call in that they have that confidence in knowing that it's anonymous and they are protected."
The tentative date to launch Crime Stoppers is January 1, 2013.
For more information about how to get involved, call the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce at (870) 762-2012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.