January is recognized as Pueblo Crime Stoppers month. Crime Stoppers is spring-boarding off the new year to launch a new campaign.
You will have the chance for raise money for the donation-based program by buying coupon books at Little Caesars.
The new campaign will focus on graffiti-vandalism in the New Year. Judge William Alexander announced the new campaign at a special dedication ceremony Thursday.
By thinking proactively, and educating the public, they hope to prevent graffiti-vandalism crime and put an end to it in Pueblo County.
Their campaign will be multi-faceted, but they introduced one unique way they hope to fight the crime.
Crime Stoppers created a comic book they'll give to elementary students in an effort to deter them from graffiti-vandalism.
Their goal is to teach kids that there are better ways to express themselves, and that they need to respect other people’s property.
The comic book is called “Jackson Apollo Goes All-City” and will be handed out to fourth and fifth grade students in both Pueblo school districts.
"Art is not art if you don't get permission to actually put your art on somebody else's wall, said Jamie Patti.
That’s the message that Crime Stoppers wants to teach students with this comic book. Patti is an instructor with Pueblo Community College. She wrote the story that illustrates a tug of war between art students and vandals.
"You can't just say 'don't do graffiti' to them. They don't really respond to that. So this was about letting them see the consequences and arrive at the conclusions themselves,” said Patti.
Through colorful illustrations and relatable writing, they hope students will learn better ways to express their creativity and gain the tools and words they need to make the right choices.
"Help them to understand that it's not okay to deface other people's property and to report it when they see it,” said Terry Baughman, President of Pueblo Crime Stoppers.
Illustrated by David Carleo, a Centennial High School student, the book itself serves as an example of how kids can artistically express themselves.
The book hopes to teach Pueblo’s youth a greater sense of respect for other people’s property and artistry. It will also provide them with ideas on how to use their talents for something productive.
And if the book is a big hit, Pueblo Crime Stoppers may create more books on other topics, such a bullying. They will collect immediate data and stats over the next two to five years.
The organization has published 3,500 copies of the comic book. They should make their way into classrooms by March.
You can report crimes of graffiti-vandalism by calling the graffiti hotline: 719-553-2501.
Crime Stoppers board member Tom Bruss initiated the project and is now supported by school districts, Pueblo Community College, DARE, and the Sheriff and Police Departments
In celebration of “Pueblo Crime Stoppers Month” Little Caesar’s restaurants in Pueblo are selling coupon books for $2. By purchasing the valuable coupons, you not only get to help support the program but get an order of Crazy Bread.
Dave Feamster, owner of the Pueblo restaurants, wanted to sponsor the program and will donate all money raised to the program. There are five locations: Outlook Blvd, Blende, Prairie Avenue, Belmont and Pueblo West.
During this month the community is encouraged more than ever to report the crimes they see. And are reminded that all calls are anonymous.
“I think it’s important for people to be just more aware of their community and paying attention to crimes that might be happening or events that they can report. And just know that Crime Stoppers is there to support them and to support law enforcement in a way that protects the people that are reporting those crimes,” said Terry Baughman.
During the proclamation ceremony Thursday, SRDA (Senior Resource Development Agency) announced the donation of $1,600 to the Crime Stoppers program. One of their own members was a target of a crime, and with the money they raised from the rewards they wanted to donate it to the program.
Carol Brown, Crime Stoppers coordinator says that instant media coverage plays a big role in allowing the program to have such great success. “Once it hits the media people are calling instantly and that immediate help gives us the upper edge on catching the criminals,” said Brown.
She reminds the public that it takes everyone, the community, media, Crime Stopper volunteers, and law enforcement to make Pueblo County a safer place, and make this program successful.
You can report a crime anytime by calling 719-542-STOP (7867), submit a tip online at www.pueblocrimestoppers.com or by texting your tip to “crimes” (274637). Be sure to start your tip with the word “pueblo”.
The program started in 1983. Since that time, tips have lead to over 1800 arrests and cleared 2,500 cases including 21 homicides. Pueblo Crime Stoppers has also helped law enforcement seize over $14 million worth of drugs and over $11 million worth of seized or recovered property.
Tipsters are never asked their name by Crime Stoppers and they do not use caller ID. Callers are only given a code number for identification. Then caller can then call back to see if they have earned a reward. Rewards can range from $100 to $500 depending the crime and information given. Rewards are picked up at the drive-thru window or a local bank in order to keep the caller anonymous. It is against the law in Colorado to identify a Crime Stoppers caller.
All Pueblo County Crime Stoppers board members are volunteers. The program is based on donations and contributions from the community.