The Muskegon County Silent Observer program made rewards of $10,650 for crimes solved in 2018. “This is one of our largest payout years in recent history,” says Tom Schultz, Chairman of the Silent Observer volunteer committee and Chairman of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The payouts for 2018 involved 6 cases related to retail theft, 4 cases related to fugitive arrests, and one high profile murder case.
There was also a payout this year for the “Party Patrol” program. The Party Patrol’s focus is on underage drinking and drug parties. Just one call to help break up parties where underage drinking or illegal drug use are occurring can prevent serious harm and save the lives of many.
“Silent Observer is a fantastic tool that allows community members to assist law enforcement in keeping our community safe”, says Schultz. The high tech program allows individuals to report crimes anonymously by calling in tips with total confidentiality. Computer software blocks cell phone numbers and computer addresses by replacing that information with confidential code numbers. The Silent Observer administrators cannot see the identity of who is calling or emailing tips. When information results in an arrest or breaks up an illegal party, the code number can release the reward payout that can then be cashed anonymously.
The Silent Observer committee is made up of a number of non-profit organizations in the community. They work in partnership with local law enforcement professionals. The funds raised for the program, the software and the rewards are held in an account managed separately by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber Foundation. “New technology and community engagement are making a difference in the safety of Muskegon County”, said Schultz.
To find out more about the program or make a donation go to www.silentobservermuskegon.com