Crime Stoppers seeks participants, sponsors for golf tournament

Published 7:26 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2019

When it comes to fighting crime, it takes a village.

At the forefront of that effort locally, Beaufort County Crime Stoppers serves as a link between law enforcement and civilians, and the group is gearing up for its annual golf tournament on April 12.

Offering cash rewards in exchange for anonymous tips, Crime Stoppers has helped local law enforcement recover thousands of dollars worth of stolen property and take large quantities drugs off the streets. Perhaps most powerful of all, information brought to law enforcement through the program has helped solve homicides and bring justice to families of the victims.

For the past 23 years, those cash rewards have been partially funded through the golf tournament — all the event’s proceeds go into a pool of reward money after expenses are paid. For those who want to play in the tournament, or sponsor the event on some level, opportunities are still available.

“We have between 13 and 15 teams that have committed to the tournament, and we can have 27 teams at the Washington Yacht & Country Club,” Beaufort County Crime Stoppers spokesperson Kelly Cox said.

At the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Cox says the Crime Stoppers program has proven beneficial to every department in the agency, from the criminal investigations to the drug unit.

“It’s an opening to an investigation,” BCSO Drug Unit Lt. Russell Davenport said. “Once we receive that tip, we start our own investigation or surveillance to figure out if the tip is valid or invalid. The majority of time when people complain, there’s something there. It’s been a great program.”

For those who wish to submit a tip via Crime Stoppers, anonymity is guaranteed — the tips are collected at a call center out of state, and all reward money is distributed via a local bank. Tipsters can even have a friend or relative collect the rewards if they would rather not do so in person.

“We have a lot of people who may know things that don’t want to outright come out and say something for the fear of being subpoenaed to court, or have their safety compromised,” Cox said. “When you can put people in jail for something like a murder, that’s huge.”

Those wanting to take part in the golf tournament, either as participants or sponsors, can stop by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office during business hours to fill out an entry form. Cost to play in the tournament is $75 per player or $300 per team, and sponsorships are available at multiple levels.

“Even businesses that don’t want to donate a monetary prize can donate an item for us to raffle there at the event,” Crime Stoppers treasurer Jennifer Evans said.

To report a crime to Crime Stoppers, call 252-974-6400. The organization will pay a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.