Flint, MI–Mayor Sheldon Neeley announced at a press conference Monday afternoon that the city of Flint will be partnering with Crime Stoppers to fight blight in the city.
Residents will now be able to submit anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers of Flint and Genesee County about people doing illegal dumping in blighted areas, for cash.
If the tip leads to an arrest, the person who made the tip can earn anywhere from $250 to $1,000, depending on the severity of the dumping.
Police Chief Phil Hart said people who participate in illegal dumping can be punished with up to a $500 fine, a vehicle impounding and a bill for the cost of cleanup of the property.
“Believe me, we will push all of those points and police officers are ready, willing and able to investigate these tips,” Hart said. “We hope this program will make these wicked criminals think twice before they do any illegal dumping in our area again.”
Director of Crime Stoppers Julie Lopez said that the program normally only pays rewards for felonies but that because blight can lead to other crimes, they’ve decided to offer cash for blight related tips.
To submit a tip, people can go to the Crime Stoppers website or download the free P3 mobile app and upload photos and videos of the dumping in action. The documentation of the illegal dumping goes to the police department and from there they can make an arrest.
After an arrest is made, the anonymous tipper who is given a tip number, can go to a safe location to receive a cash payment.
Lopez said there will also be “Fight Blight” Crime Stoppers yard signs, billboards, and door hangings which she says she hopes will deter people from even trying to dump garbage in the first place.
“There shouldn’t be any larger incentive for residents inside the city of Flint than to just say we’re going to have a cleaner, better city,” Neeley said.
As of July 31, Neeley said there have been 131 clean ups and the city has cleaned up over one million pounds of garbage.
“Once we clean up a site…we need to make sure it stays clean. If you can’t keep up, you can’t catch up,” Neeley said. “So we’re enlisting the service of Crime Stoppers, our philanthropic partners, and also all of the residents inside the city of Flint to make it a cleaner, better environment for us all.”