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Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley Program Celebrated, One Year In

Photo by Scott McCloskey The Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley program continues to be a helpful tool for local law enforcement agencies in keeping neighborhoods safe. The Wheeling Police Department and Belmont County Sheriff’s Department continue to work together in sharing information from tips by anonymous individuals as part of the program. Pictured from left are Belmont County Sheriff’s Department Sgt.Tom DeVaul and Wheeling Police Department’s Sgt. Rob Safreed and Lt. Josh Sanders.

The Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley program is being deemed a success as it celebrates its one-year anniversary, since it has led to a number of helpful tips that resulted in arrests for local law enforcement agencies.

According to Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Crime Stoppers is a community program that allows residents to provide anonymous information about criminal activity to help keep their neighborhoods and cities safe. Cash rewards are given based on the confirmation of anonymous tips that lead to an arrest. Tips will only be received by calling 833-4-TIPLINE from a cellphone or landline. No tips will be accepted through social media, the website or email to keep the informant’s information confidential and anonymous.

Schwertfeger and Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas jointly launched the local Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley Program on Sept. 23, 2020.

Schwertfeger said the ultimate goal is to make communities safer. He said this program provides an opportunity for folks to help local law enforcement solve major cases and crimes and find wanted fugitives. The information gathered, vetted and followed up is information that will benefit the entire upper Ohio Valley.

“I think it has absolutely been successful,” Schwertfeger noted while speaking about the one-year anniversary of the program. He said while the program was slow in developing for officers during its infancy, he said it “is becoming more and more prevalent.”

“We would like to see more agencies outside of Belmont County and the city of Wheeling PD utilize it, because that’s why it is here. It’s a regional program,” Schwertfeger said. “The city of Wheeling has made at least three arrests based on tips from Crime Stoppers. … So it’s been a good thing, and it’s only going to get better.”

When the local program began last fall, Lucas said his department jumped on board with the new partnership right away.

On Wednesday, Belmont County Sheriff’s Department Sgt.Tom DeVaul echoed comments made by Schwertfeger about the success of the program.

“The information we get we share among each other and regardless of the (law enforcement) agency, we will share information,” DeVaul said. “It has been a help to us.”

The program is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit, administered under the Information Helpline. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley, P.O. Box 190, Wheeling, WV 26003. Checks should be payable to Crime Stoppers UOV. Donations can also be made electronically through the website at crimestoppersuov.com. Local residents can stay informed about reported crimes and general information by following Crime Stoppers Upper Ohio Valley on the website, Facebook and Instagram. General questions can be answered at 304-907-9373 or by emailing info@crimestoppersuov.com.

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