Crime Stoppers and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department publishes a paper with the 56 most wanted fugutives. While the publication has been around for ten years, the January edition this year led to the most arrests in its history. Houston Public Radio’s Capella Tucker reports
Looking at the paper, it brings up images of the Old West.
“It’s just a new version of the wanted posters.”
Katherine Cabaniss is the executive director of the Crime Stoppers of Houston. The 56 most wanted is printed on news paper, but the graphics are from a time gone by. It’s modern day because it has the phone number for Crime Stoppers for people to call if a fugitive is spotted.
“Of the 56 featured felons in the January 2007 issue, 35 were arrested, so that’s a 63% arrest rate. It’s a very successful publication and a very successful partnership between Crime Stoppers and Harris County Sheriff’s office.”
Cabaniss says usually each publicaion leads to the arrest of 15 felons. Unfortunately, the supply of felons continue with more publications.
“So we have 56 new wanted felons every month. They are all first degree felons or capital murderers, so they are all serious violent offenders that we really want to try to locate to make us all safer. There are also a number of featured sex offenders who have failed to register, failed to comply with the sexual registration requirements here in Harris county so the sheriff’s office works to try to put them behind bars where they belong.”
Cabinass says they are not sure why January’s publication led to more arrests, other than the public is being watchful.
“They are selected based on the severity of the offense. They cover all the 22 district courts. We try not to just work on one docket alone, we try to make sure all the courts are receiving service by the Harris County Sheriff’s office and by Crime Stoppers. so they are chosen not only for the severity of the offense but for a number of different reasons like that.”
The paper is distributed countywide in different parole offices, DPS offices and some convenience stores. Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas says successful law enforcement does depend on the community.
“It’s the old cliche that the community is the eyes and ears of law enforcement and with their input it certainly makes our job a lot easier. This is a perfect example of that.”
The latest editions of the 56 most wanted can be viewed on-line. A link can be found at KUHF-dot-org. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.