Web host changes blamed for the outage
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Nearly two weeks ago, it came to the attention of a member of The Valley Chronicle staff that the San Jacinto Valley Crime Stoppers Plus website, www.crimestoppersplus.org, was inactive and nonfunctioning.
SJV Crime Stoppers Plus is a crime prevention program created by Central County United Way that services Hemet, San Jacinto and Valle Vista. It was designed to give people the opportunity to submit an anonymous tip directly to the Hemet Detective Bureau either online or over the phone. One of the strategies many law enforcement agencies use to encourage individuals who may be withholding incriminating information to come forward is by offering a reward.
The city of Hemet previously approved the Crime Information Reward Program at the request of Hemet Police Department’s (HPD) Chief Dave Brown, which means that the city will offer rewards of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identity, arrest, and conviction of person(s) responsible for committing serious crimes, including those which result in serious injury or death.
“It’s basically incentivized people to come forward, because we rely on that information for many cases. There are different motives for people that want to provide information,” explained Lt. Eddie Pust at an August Hemet City Council meeting. “Some people like to do it because it’s right and just; others like to work things off, and those are certain individuals that would work in collaboration with the DA’s office – we also have people that would like to get a reward.”
Central County United Way began the Crime Stoppers Plus program “a few years back, as result of a need,” said Connie Hall, vice president of operations at Central County United Way.
However, when the website is down, tips become a little more difficult to submit.
Nichelle Emerson, finance director at Central County United Way, was not aware of the mishap either. When Lt. Glenn Brock of the Hemet Police Department was informed on Monday evening, he said “I’ll make sure I get the right people on it.”
Brock later clarified that while the main website was down, the police department’s Rewards page still offered an online survey-style tip generator, which is what the defunct link eventually led to.
The Crime Stoppers anonymous call service at 866-640-TIPS, which covers calls throughout the state, was also notified that the Plus website was down.
“The fact is, I am in the process of changing web hosting services,” explained Hall on Tuesday morning. “I do anticipate the website to be back up and running by today, tomorrow at the latest. Since all tips are anonymous, the inquiry of such a reward or the status would remain anonymous as well. That’s the Crime Stoppers policy.”
The website was, in fact, up and running once again on Tuesday. People can anonymously submit their tips online at www.crimestoppersplus.org or www.cityofhemet.org/pd by clicking on their Rewards page, or over the phone at 866-640-TIPS. All tips are directed straight to Hemet Detective Bureau.