VILLAS – If every resident, tourist and business owner “used their eyes” to report any criminal activity in Cape May County, the head of the local Crime Stoppers believes the “criminals might think twice about doing their crime here, and go somewhere else.”
At least that’s the drive behind Angelo Nickels and his organization, whose goal is to “stop crime in our county and make this a safe place to live for our families and children and grandchildren.
“Our county depends on tourists for survival,” Nickels said. “Our police officers can’t see everything that is going on. But if every resident and tourist used their eyes and reported potential criminal activity, it would be a great benefit to all of us.
“When a family comes to vacation here, they want Disney, they want things to be perfect,” he added. “Every area within the county has seen changes over the years, and we have a lot of undesirables here. We want to be a premier resort area because if not, people will go elsewhere. We all lose.”
Nickels, who has been a long-time resident and business owner, said the Cape May County Crime Stoppers group is part of the national program and run through the county Sheriff’s Department.
He got involved in the group at the request of the sheriff, after campaigning for him in the 2017 election. He just became president a couple of months ago.
“The group was in Cape May for many years, but only would pay out up to $200 to individuals who brought forward criminals for an arrest,” Nickels said. “Over 20 years, they only had $5,000 in their treasury. I don’t think people will come forward for $200, so we decided to increase the reward to $1,000.
“I think that is more of an incentive for people,” he added. “With $1,000, you can pay a month’s worth of bills.”
Nickels explained that anyone who sees a crime, or suspects a crime is occurring, can call 609-465-2800 to report the suspicious activity anonymously.
The caller will be asked if they want to receive a reward if a person is arrested and convicted, and if so, they are given a number for identification purposes.
The call and information is routed to the responsible police agency which then investigates, according to Nickels.
“If it is found to be true, there could be an arrest, and potentially the person can be convicted of the crime,” he explained. “The only persons who know the identification is me and the vice president who signs the check and delivers it.”
The reward can range up to $1,000, depending on the circumstances, he added.
Nickels is soliciting businesses for financial support to make it possible to increase the top range of the reward to $1,000 and to ensure that there is money available as more and more people report tips.
“You don’t have to be a business to make a donation,” Nickels said. “We all want to clean up the county of crime, so we should all be the eyes watching for crime.
“We’ll all benefit if we make this work,” he noted.
Anyone wanting to make a tax-deductible donation may mail it to the Crime Stoppers, P.O. Box 104, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210.
To contact Karen Knight, email email@example.com.
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