BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – They’ve helped law enforcement fight crime for 40 years and now, after decades of asking you to come to them, Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama is coming to you — through your phone.
Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama and the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency have teamed up to create a notification system, aimed at spreading the word about unsolved cases across the county.
They’re using the same alert system for tornados and active shooters to try to get new tips and possibly witnesses to close cases before they go cold.
“What we’re trying to do is find new and more effective ways to reach out to the community because it’s our community,” said Bob Copus, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama.
Crime Stoppers is using this text and call notification system to contact certain neighborhoods about unsolved cases in the area. It’s rolling out next week, starting in the area around the 4500 block of 6th Avenue South in Birmingham.
That’s where the body of 23-year-old Reed Rigsby was found in July, and they want to know if someone in the neighborhood saw something.
“This homicide affects everyone. If something bad has happened, you need to know about it because you live there. [Also] if you know something — you have a safe and anonymous way to report what you know,” Copus said.
Next week, Crime Stoppers will launch a keyword text line so you can sign up to get all of their alerts, including everything from local homicide cases to news about future Crime Stoppers fundraisers. You can opt-out at any time and all of this is 100% anonymous.
“You get information about a case and then the Crime Stoppers’ phone number when you subscribe. When you send in the key word, this [text chain] does not keep your information. We would be remiss if we did not reach out,” said Jim Coker, director of Jefferson County EMA.
Both Coker and Copus hope this launch helps make Birmingham safer and helps them reach more young people — something that Birmingham Police emphasized is needed.
“Many of our homicide victims are under 40, a lot of times even in their 20s. Younger people text a lot, so having a subscription where they could get that information on their phone would be very helpful,” said Sgt. Monica Law with Birmingham Police.
If you have any information on unsolved investigations, you can contact Crime Stoppers at (205) 254-7777 and can remain anonymous.