Crime Stoppers celebrates 35 years in Wichita

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Crime Stoppers of Wichita and Sedgwick County gets thousands of tips every year.

The program started in Wichita in 1980. It was 3 years later when it took off. The manager at Church's Chicken on north Broadway was closing up. Two armed robbers came in and killed her. There were no leads and no clues, until someone called in a tip to the new program called Crime Stoppers.

"At the time the biggest reward was $1000," said Crime Stoppers Executive Committee Board Member Fran Kentling. "No one knew who it was. Tipster got the thousand dollars, and then it took off."

Since then, tips to Crime Stoppers of Wichita and Sedgwick County have helped solved thousands of cases. The most recent happened this year. A 60 year-old woman was robbed and murdered in south Wichita.

"We got a tip, really detailed," said Wichita Police Detective and Crime Stoppers Coordinator Wendy Hummell. Officers arrested the suspect right away.

Since the inception of the program in 1980, Crime Stoppers has received more than 31,000 tips, leading to 3000 arrests, and $400,000 in approved rewards.

"They really have it down to a fine art," said Kintling. "That's what makes it work. The anonymity and the rewards."

Kintling says in 35 years, the promise of anonymity has never been broken.

"The whole goal is to live in a safer community, and get the bad guys off the streets," said Kintling.

An interesting statistic, about 70% of the approved rewards are never collected.

If you have a tip on a crime you are asked to call or text Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.