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Taking a bite out of crime in Raton

by Carol Bridge

RATON — The Crime Stoppers of Raton met in open session on August 30 at International Bank. All local law enforcement agencies sent representatives to praise the group’s efforts in battling local crime, including the District Attorney’s office, Colfax County Sheriff Department, Raton Police Department, Probation Office, Colfax County Magistrate Court, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Regular crime stopper meetings are not open to the public to preserve confidentiality and for safety reasons.

Johnny Volpato is president of the group and related the positive impact that this group has had on Raton. There were 119 tips reported resulting in 11 arrests, 10 search warrants and information regarding two important drug related investigations. He gives credit to social media and especially the Crime Stoppers Facebook page which he credits with tripling the number of reports from previous years. The mission statement of the group is to help the community become a safer place by deterring crime through citizen involvement.

Judge Warren Walton asked people reporting to include every detail possible even though it may not seem relevant. Any background information that is known can be essential to the successful prosecution of the case -such as where the suspect works, license plates, exact times, who are the suspect’s relatives or friends, all of it can be instrumental to law enforcement as it seeks enough cause to request a search warrant. The idea that, ‘I know it, we know it, everyone knows it’, may seem like enough reason to the average citizen but it will not hold up in court and does not constitute probable cause for searches. If a report is made and nothing seems to happen, do not stop reporting but instead, become more observant about details and continue to report.

People who wish to make reports should know that they will remain completely anonymous. Rewards are offered for tips that result in arrests and prosecutions. These rewards are funded by fines paid to the court system but it is possible to increase these rewards from private sources. Increasing rewards may result in more information and prosecution in the unsolved crimes of the area.

Crime Stoppers is asking for volunteers to serve on its board to replace members whose term has expired. For more information contact a local law enforcement agency, Johnny Volpato at 575-445-5084 or 505-918-7605, or leave a message on www.facebook.com/Ratoncrimestoppers/

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