Rewards for tipsters who provide information leading to the arrest of criminals in the central San Joaquin Valley are going up, some of the area’s top cops announced Friday.
Valley Crime Stoppers plans to increase rewards for information leading to arrests in murder cases from $1,000 to $2,000, or as much as $3,000 if the murder was gang-related. Dale Mendoza, president of the nonprofit organization, announced the increased rewards at a Friday gathering attended by many of the region’s top cops, including Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer, District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp and Lt. Chris Paredes of the California Highway Patrol.
Our job would be much more difficult without Crime Stoppers.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer
Law enforcement officials say the rewards are vital to combating the code of silence that gang members use to hold sway in the community.
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Fresno has 20,000 gang members “who rule by intimidation,” Dyer said. “Our job would be much more difficult without Crime Stoppers.”
Gang members “prevent witnesses from testifying and intimidating victims, witnesses and family members.”
Felon with a gun program offers cash rewards of up to $500 for getting guns off the street.
The chief said a recent investigation of the southwest Fresno Dog Pound gang revealed that gang members also use money to pay witnesses.
Added Mims: “For some, money is a motivational factor.”
Dyer said his department’s “Felon With A Gun” program, which provides cash rewards of up to $500 for getting guns off the street, has been another success story of the Crime Stoppers program.
The chief said after surging in March by 42 percent for the year, shootings by gang members have plummeted and are now up by 19.8 percent and dropping.