'Some of these tips are huge'; Crime Line programs helping police solve cases

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Posted at 6:07 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 06:25:36-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - When leads run cold or suspects are hiding, sometimes police need a little help to close a case. That's where Crime Line comes in.

The nonprofit is a way for people to anonymously report tips to police with the added incentive of rewards up to $1,000.

Police solved more than 300 cases in Hampton Roads in 2020 thanks to those tips.

While police are the ones investigating the leads, it's volunteers outside of the police department who actually run the program. "It's all volunteer. None of us get paid," said Rob Camlin, chairman of Portsmouth's Crime Line. "We do this just because we like to support the community."

He was asked to join fifteen years ago and has been on the board ever since and there are a lot of other volunteers like him throughout Hampton Roads.

Although there's a regional board that allows Crime Line programs in our area to share resources and some expenses, each city has its own separate program with volunteers who raise money for the rewards through fundraisers and donations.

Here's how the program works. It starts with someone either calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (568-5887) or submitting a tip through the P3 tips app or website. Those tips are sent to a Crime Line coordinator within the police department, like Sgt. Jane Foster, and the tipster is given a number to identify them in case they end up getting a reward. She then sends the tips to investigators to look into.

"Some of these tips are huge," said Foster.

If a tip leads to an arrest, the board votes on how much money the tip is worth.

The tipster can check back in using their ID to see if they're due a reward and if so, they get a password to take to a bank to collect it.

"All they provide to the teller is that tip ID number and that password," said Foster.

Over the years, the tips have helped with countless cases.

"We've even even given rewards out for crimes that have happened years ago," said Camlin.

Giving closure to give closure to victims and a valuable resource to people who need a safe way to report a tip.

In 2020, Crime Line boards in Hampton Roads paid out about $30,000 in reward money.

Have any information for police? Call 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (568-5887) now or submit a tip through the P3 tips app or website.