Crime Stoppers receives $7.7K donation, helps fund local growth & impact

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas is making strides with a little help from some friends.

Robert Bilnoski with Golden Pass LNG recognized the importance of the Crime Stoppers program and with the company’s blessing, made a donation on behalf of the city of Port Arthur.

The very specific amount of the donation — $7,731.02 — isn’t a random number, though. It comes from a calculation. Port Arthur Police Deputy Chief Michael Fratus, one of the department’s liaisons with Crime Stoppers, said he heard from the organization last year when its leaders decided to make some organizational changes, some of which was to hire an executive director and secure office space. The program now includes Jefferson, Orange and Hardin counties.

In order to fund this a calculation was made for costs per jurisdiction by population. Port Arthur’s came to $7,731.02.

So a law enforcement representative visited Bilnoski and told him aboutCrime Stoppers, which is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization and of their plans for the future. Bilnoski, in turn made contact with company folks in Houston.

“They told me, Robert you have to do this,’” Bilnoski said, adding this shows the closeness and unique relationship of the company with the city and the partnership of Houston to the region.

“Golden Pass is proud to be part of this and so thankful for the city’s support of Golden Pass and we like to give back any way possible.”

Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas

Crime Stoppers has been pretty busy.

“This is the most active and proactive board Crime Stoppers has ever had,” said Lee Wheeler, vice chairperson of Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas.

“All of us are business owners or retired people and former law enforcement. We are trying to take this to the next level but it’s hard to when you’re dealing with people trying to run a business.”

The board hired Stephanie Vanskike to head the organization — she will be the face of Crime Stoppers. They want to move into an office in downtown Beaumont around July 1.

Wheeler said some people were surprised to learn Crime Stoppers isn’t a part of local law enforcement so it is not funded by any municipality. It operates off grants and donations from businesses, industry or others.

Crime Stoppers has also expanded into local school districts with campus crime stopper organizations due to school shootings and violence. And Crime Stoppers has a special Secure Home program that includes a portable building made to look like a home that is placed on a trailer so it can be brought to different locations where home safety education is taught.

TIPS

There are several different ways to submit a tip about a crime and all are anonymous, per state statute.

Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas was established in 1981 and since then has received over 14,000 tips resulting in over 3,000 arrests and nearly 6,000 cases cleared, according to information from the Crime Stoppers website — 833TIPS.com

“It’s a win-win for law enforcement,” Fratus said. “The more educated people are about Crime Stoppers and the anonymity the more tips we’re going to get.”