Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Students urged to help

By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer

Dater High School 8th-grader Shanice Simmons, 14, of Price Hill listens to the Crime Stoppers program. She is wearing a shirt with the Crime Stoppers telephone number on it.
Enquirer photo by ERNEST COLEMAN
PRICE HILL - With deadly violence on the rise in Cincinnati, police are turning to students for help.

A pilot program of Crime Stoppers, which rewards crime tips with cash, began Tuesday at Gilbert A. Dater High School and extends through the school year.

Police, school officials and students told about 700 students in grades 7-12 during a morning assembly that what they see and hear could solve crimes.

The city is on pace to surpass last year's 26-year-high in homicides, when 75 people were slain.

This year in the city, 58 people have been killed. Last year at this time, 49were homicide victims. The record was 81 in 1971.

"Violence is off the hook," said Cincinnati Police Capt. Vince Demasi, commander of the department's criminal investigation section. "My generation did not do a very good job keeping things under control. Maybe your generation can do better."

Next fall, the student Crime Stoppers program will be in place at all Cincinnati public schools, said Cincinnati police Sgt. Lisa Davis, commander of Crime Stoppers.

The student program is also available to other Greater Cincinnati school districts.

Cincinnati police selected Dater for the pilot program because its staff and students have reputations for being progressive and responsive in the community, Davis said.

"I hope the students get a sense of doing the right things for the right reasons," Dater Principal Beverly Eby said, "and that coming to school should always be safe."

This year, students can take cellular phones to school in Cincinnati public schools - but they must be turned off and kept out of sight during school hours, Eby said. Students armed with phones fits into Crime Stoppers, say Cincinnati police.

Tipsters won't be asked to give their names. They are assigned a code. Rewards for tips that lead to arrests can be up to $1,000.

Last year, Crime Stoppers doled out more than $100,000 to people for anonymous crime tips, Cincinnati police Det. Greg Meadows said.

"I have given an 8-year-old Crime Stoppers money," he told students. "That person solved a bank robbery."


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