OC Crime Stoppers credited with 437 arrests


Thousands of tips, hundreds of arrests and more than $1 million in drugs and property confiscated in nearly three years is how Orange County Crime Stoppers defines success.

Members and supporters of the nonprofit gathered Thursday at Original Mike’s in Santa Ana to celebrate the organization’s achievements.

OC Crime Stoppers, founded in January 2012, encourages residents to report information that may lead to the arrest of suspects in a variety of crimes, including assaults, kidnappings and homicides.

One of the keys to the program: promising anonymity.

Phone lines are encrypted and the nonprofit does not require tipsters to leave a name.

“It gives us an avenue to get us information that we might not otherwise receive,” said Assistant Sheriff Don Barnes, chair of the Crime Stoppers board. “And it is information that can help us do our job.”

Crime Stoppers uses phone calls, text messages and online reporting to collect information.

Officials announced Thursday they will soon also launch a mobile app to report tips.

Tips come to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and are then distributed to the appropriate agencies, Barnes said.

He added OCSD shares leads as soon as they come in so officers can jump on their investigation, and hopefully make an arrest.

Since its inception, OC Crime Stoppers has fielded more than 3,700 tips about various types of crime.

Those tips led to 437 arrests, 1,122 charges being filed, 33 weapons confiscated, about $196,000 in property recovered and nearly $1 million worth of drugs seized, officials said.

“The program works, it’s here to stay and it is sustainable,” said Patricia Wenskunas, founder of OC Crime Stoppers. “I feel confident this organization is a success and it will continue to grow.”

To learn more about this organization visit occrimestoppers.org.