HARLINGEN — Reynaldo Delua answered the Harlingen Crime Stoppers phone line ready to receive a crime tip.
But the call was different.
It didn’t come in the middle of the night like some do, and the caller wasn’t offering a tip to help solve a local crime.
It was an invitation from the members of local Elks Lodge eager to donate $1,000 to the Harlingen Crime Stoppers organization.
And on Monday night Delua, Harlingen Area Crime Stoppers coordinator and the Crime Stoppers board of trustees picked up that gift in the form of a big check.
“Entities like the Elks Lodge help us sustain our operating account and allows us to operate,” Delua said.
According to the Crime Stoppers board, this is the fifth time the local Elks have contributed to the organization.
“We support our community,” said Victoria Cerda, Elks Lodge exalted ruler. “We support local organizations who are providing a service to Harlingen and the surrounding area.”
Cerda said the Elks Lodge has donated $69,755 to the local community combined during the first and second quarters of their current fiscal year.
“Their contributions help in the long run,” Delua said about the Elks Lodge gift. “It helps the community a whole lot.”
The money is projected to help the Harlingen Crime Stoppers operating funds.
Crime Stoppers pays out monetary rewards for tips that help lead to a criminal arrest.
The organization pays for five phone lines that receive phone calls for the five cities under the Harlingen Crime Stoppers umbrella.
Those cities include Harlingen, Santa Rosa, Combes, Primera, Rio Hondo and Los Indios.
It also helps organize the area local National Night Out activities.
“We are an independent organization and not controlled by any of the police departments,” Delua said. “The program has worked since it started.”
Harlingen Area Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization made up of a volunteer board of concerned citizens who involve citizens, media and police.
Delua said Harlingen Crime Stoppers has been active since June 1982.
To date it has helped take more than $5 million worth of illegal drugs off the streets.
Delua said one of the most recent big arrests came from an anonymous tip that led to the arrest of a Harlingen man who robbed the local Bank of America.
He said an anonymous tipster kept calling and feeding authorities information about the bank robber and his location until he was arrested.
“Anyone can always call the tip line, we are open 24 hours a day,” Delua said. “We take any lead, it doesn’t have to be one that is out in the press.”
Harlingen Area Crime Stoppers President Lorenzo Hernandez said any reports to the crime stoppers are 100 percent anonymous.
“Anybody who reports a crime that leads up to an arrest gets a reward,” Hernandez said. “Not even the police officer knows who give the tips.”
Hernandez also said anyone who reports a tip doesn’t have to appear in court.
“We get more than 20 tips a month and give out about two or three rewards a month,” Hernandez said. “We decide how much somebody gets for a reward depending on the crime and risk factor.”
Harlingen: (956) 425-8477
Combes: (956) 893-2953
Primera: (956) 536-0776
Rio Hondo: (956) 893-2954
Santa Rosa: (956) 893-0867