|Updated: 4/11/2012 9:11 am
||Published: 4/10/2012 6:36 pm
The Tulsa Police Department confirms it was one of the many tips called into Crime Stoppers over the weekend that helped them arrest Jacob England and Alvin Watts for the Good Friday shooting spree in just 48 hours.
Roughly 40 Tulsans called in tips to Crime Stoppers over the weekend to help police catch England and Watts. Because arrests were made, at least one person is going to get a cash reward for their tip.
On average, Crime Stoppers receives about 350 tips each year.
Now law enforcement, city leaders and the Tulsa Crime Commission are hoping more Tulsans will see how quickly those tips helped get an arrest, and will start calling in more tips.
"Fear," Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson said, explaining why more people don't call tips in. "Fear of retaliation."
Jawun Roach, 16, lives in north Tulsa, and said Henderson is right.
"The people I be around, you end up telling on them, you know, they end up either trying to fight you or you aren't about to be cool with them," Roach said. "So, you ain't about to have as many friends as you're used to."
Jonathan Sharp is also a north Tulsa resident, and said much worse things can also happen to a so-called snitch.
But Sharp said he thinks about those who get hurt by the crimes themselves, not retaliation. He said if he knew something about a crime he wouldn't hold back information from police.
"I'm not saying I'm a snitch, but you know what I mean. I'm going to protect mine," Sharp said. "So, I'm going to do what I have to do to make sure the people I care about are safe. You can call me a snitch or whatever you want."
But Sharp thinks a lot of people still don't understand that nobody has to know if they call in a tip. Tipsters can remain anonymous, so that the only way others would know a person called one in is if they, themselves, tell anyone.
The Crime Stoppers hotline is answered by a service based in Texas, so there's no chance of operators recognizing somebody's voice. Tipsters don't have to give their name, address, phone number, or any other information to operators.
Instead, operators simply assign a caller a number, and give them instructions on how to go about checking on whether their tip led to an arrest and collecting subsequent reward money.
Still, Sharp worries a lot of people in his community won't step up and start sharing information, even if the tip is anonymous.
"It depends on what the fear factor level is," he said. "You know what I mean? Yeah, I don't think it's going to make a difference."
But Henderson said that's the wrong attitude to have if people want to bring crime levels down.
"Today you're keeping that to yourself, and somebody's loved one died," he said. "Tomorrow it could be one of your loved ones because you didn't talk."
Even so, criminals in the community can still put a lot of pressure on young people like Roach.
"If it was my people that got killed, I'd be trying to call in on them if I knew who it was if it was my family," he said. "But I'm not saying if it was somebody else's family would I call in if I knew it. I'd probably tell the people whose family it is and then let them handle it."
Leaders with the Tulsa Crime Commission say 80 percent of tips called into Crime Stoppers eventually lead to an arrest. On average, Crime Stoppers pays out seven rewards each month for tips that lead to an arrest.
The Crime Stoppers tip hotline number is: 918-596-COPS (2677).