Crime Stoppers opening up to tips from jail inmates

At the end of the month, inmates in Marion County will be allowed to call Crime Stoppers anonymously.

Crime Stoppers has been a successful way to catch criminals, giving out a cash reward for anonymous tips.

Now anyone at the Marion County Jail will be able to pick up a phone and call 262-TIPS.

"We think the jails are just a tremendous source of intelligence on crime for obvious reasons. And if we could tap in on that knowledge just a little bit, I think it would help make Marion County safer," explained Lt. Col. Louis Dezelen, chief of administration at the Marion County Jail.

Jail inmates will be able to use the same phones they use to call family and friends to make the tips. A call to Crime Stoppers will be free, anonymous and will not be monitored like most phone calls. Inmates will be eligible for the same $1,000 reward if their tip leads to an arrest and conviction.

"We just think with the reward system attached and the anonymity, we're hoping there's going to be a lot of use," said Dezelen.

Posters inside the jail advertise the program that is set to begin at the end of May. The hope is that news of the program will spread quickly among inmates and that the information provided will make a real difference.

"I think that there might be a lot of people that are eager to pass on information to help stop some crimes for what ever reason, as long as the crime is stopped, I think that's important," said Dezelen.

Since the calls are anonymous, there will be no way to track how many tips come from the jail, but they are guessing this will be a popular program. The reward will need to be collected by a friend or relative, unless of course, the tipster ends up getting out of jail.