New Crime Stopping Program Being Launched Along the Lakeshore
A new crime prevention program is being launched by a coalition of local business, education and law enforcement leaders. The new program: Silent Observer - The Lakeshore Crime Stopper, is high tech with a youthful brand. It is a reinvention of the former Silent Observer program which worked well prior to smart phones and the internet. “In today’s youth oriented society, a new approach is needed to manage this very important community safety program,” says Michael Hagen, General Manager of The Lakes Mall and Chair of the new Silent Observer Council.
Citizens will now be able to submit crime tips via anonymous texts or online and be eligible to receive rewards. Volunteers have been working behind the scenes for roughly a year to modernize the system that helps prevent crime and assist police in capturing individuals who have broken the law.
“It’s a great program because information can be sent to law enforcement officials in real time,” says DJ Hilson, Muskegon County Prosecutor. People can report information as it is happening. Community leaders hope the new system will encourage people to watch out for each other and keep neighborhoods safe while remaining anonymous. The program works with a number code system so that no one knows who reported the information or who is receiving a reward. The Silent Observer program does not replace 911 for reporting a crime, but is a tool for passing along information related to a crime. For more information on how the Silent Observer program works, go to www.silentobservermuskegon.com.
The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is helping to coordinate and market the new program. “Safe communities are important for citizens and are good for business,” says Hagen. A number of organizations like Baker College have made donations to the project. According to Lee Coggin, President of Baker College, “A safe community is important to the college because it creates a better learning environment for our students. We want the students to be focused on studies, not neighborhood concerns.”
A new logo and website have been created with the help of Fineline Creative and the County of Muskegon’s technology staff. “Taking this program to a new level has been a real team effort,” added Hagen. Members of the planning group include Muskegon Community College, Baker College of Muskegon, Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, City of Muskegon, Muskegon County, Muskegon County Sherriff’s Office, Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercy Health, The Lakes Mall, ProMed, Parmenter O’Toole and the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.
A special thanks goes to the former Silent Observer program volunteers, many of whom will remain part of the new program. The program is run on donated resources. Please donate to the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber Foundation by calling 231-722-3751 or mailing a check to the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Foundation at 380 W. Western, Suite 202, Muskegon, 49440. Be sure to designate that your donation is to be applied to the Silent Observer Muskegon Fund.
WAYS TO SUBMIT A TIP:
1. Text MKGTIP plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES)
2. Call 231-72-CRIME
3. Submit a tip at www.silentobservermuskegon.com
Text STOP to 274637 to cancel. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Full terms and conditions can be seen at www.silentobservermuskegon.com.
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