The Upper Ohio Valley Crime Stoppers program is considered a success as it celebrates its first anniversary, as it has led to a number of helpful tips that have resulted in arrests for local law enforcement agencies.
According to Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Crime Stoppers is a community-based program that allows residents to provide anonymous information about criminal activity to help keep their neighborhoods and cities safe. Cash rewards are awarded based on confirmation of anonymous advice that leads to an arrest. Tips will only be received by calling 833-4-TIPLINE from a cell phone or landline. No tips will be accepted through social media, website or email to keep informant information confidential and anonymous.
Schwertfeger and Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas jointly launched the local Upper Ohio Valley Crime Stoppers Program on September 23, 2020.
Schwertfeger said the ultimate goal is to make communities safer. He said the program offers people the opportunity to help local law enforcement solve major cases and crimes and find wanted fugitives. The information collected, verified and tracked is information that will benefit the entire Upper Ohio Valley.
“I think it has absolutely been successful,” Schwertfeger noted of the program’s first anniversary. He said that although the program was slow to develop for officers in its early stages, he said it “was becoming more and more widespread”.
“We would love to see more agencies outside of Belmont County and the Town of Wheeling PD using it, because that’s why it’s here. It’s a regional program, ”Schwertfeger said. “The town of Wheeling has made at least three arrests based on Crime Stoppers advice. … So that has been a good thing, and it will only get better.
When the local program began last fall, Lucas said his department immediately committed to the new partnership.
On Wednesday, Sergeant Tom DeVaul of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department echoed Schwertfeger’s comments about the program’s success.
“The information we get, we share it with each other and whatever (law enforcement) agency we will share information,” DeVaul said. “It has been useful to us. “
The program is a local 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, administered by the Information Hotline. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley, PO Box 190, Wheeling, WV 26003. Checks should be made payable to Crime Stoppers UOV. Donations can also be made electronically through the website at crimestoppersuov.com. Local residents can stay informed of reported crimes and general information by following Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley on the website, Facebook and Instagram. You can answer general questions at 304-907-9373 or by sending an email to [email protected]