Juneau Crime Line running short of reward money

Funding for tip program comes largely from local donations

Posted: Sunday, July 09, 2000

The reward cupboard is bare at Juneau Crime Line.

``We are desperately short of money,'' said Arlene Crumrine, secretary of the nonprofit organization.

Although Crime Line produces leads that result in arrests and convictions, it's difficult to keep money in the bank.

``Most people, if we find the person who broke into their house, don't think, `Hey, I can help you out a little bit,''' Crumrine said.

But there are exceptions, she added.

``When Channel Marina and Valley Lumber burned in 1996, they offered to help with the reward,'' Crumrine said. ``And when the Driftwood was robbed, we paid out $500 and were reimbursed by them - but that's rare.''

Crime Line was founded about 15 years ago with the aim of aiding local law enforcement agencies in their investigations. It is governed by an all-volunteer board. The board meets the second Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Juneau Police Station. At their meetings they decide which crimes merit the offering of rewards. Crumrine then issues releases to the media at the rate of one a week.

Summer is a bad time to be scraping the bottom of the reward barrel because there are more parties and holidays that generate more inebriated drivers. It's a ``big season'' for Crime Line, Crumrine said.

In fact, Crime Line is perhaps best known for its drunken driver apprehension program.

``If you see, someone driving erratically, you call in to the Crime Line number (586-4243). If that person is arrested and proved to be a drunk driver, you get $100,'' Crumrine said.

Rewards of up to $1,000 are also offered to anonymous tipsters for information about homicides, thefts, arson and other crimes. The law firm where Crumrine works - Ruddy, Bradley, Kolkhorst & Reges - has been a major supporter. And the Epsilon Signa Chi chapter of the sorority of which she is president has chosen to make Crime Line their ``charity of the year.'' But the organization still needs private donations to maintain its annual budget of about $3,000.

``The majority of their rewards are DWI rewards, although they have paid out burglary and other rewards,'' said Sgt. Kevin Siska, an investigator with the Juneau Police Department.

``Crime Line has been a very effective tool for us. At times it can produce just enough of a lead that we can work with it,'' Siska added.

Donations may be sent to Crime Line, P. O. Box 34338, Juneau, AK 99803, to Crumrine's attention. Crime Line now has its own Web site at E-mail may be sent to juneaucrimeline@yahoo.com.

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