The 11 area Crime Solvers programs got a new single, regionwide 800 telephone number yesterday, courtesy of the Greater Washington Board of Trade and seven companies.
The new number, 1-800-673-2777, is designed to make it easier for people to report information about various Crime Solver cases and allow the 11 programs to wage a joint publicity campaign.
Since the first Crime Solvers program was established in Montgomery County in 1978, programs in the Washington area have been credited with helping to close 5,000 cases and resulting in the seizure of more than $10 million in narcotics and property.
The program allows people to provide information about crimes anonymously, and pays informants rewards for the information.
"The regionwide Crime Solvers telephone number reinforces what can be done when businesses, citizens and law enforcement officials work together to address a problem facing us -- that is, reducing crime in our community," Board of Trade President William B. Wrench said at a morning news conference.
The new telephone number went into operation yesterday. Previously, callers wanting to supply information anonymously had to determine which of 11 Crime Solvers programs to call. With the single number, the caller will be directed to the appropriate jurisdiction.
Seven corporations -- Giant Food, Hecht's, Hechinger, IBM, Peoples Drug Stores, Safeway Inc. and Woodward & Lothrop -- are underwriting the first year's cost of the regional number.
The Montgomery program has helped close 1,118 criminal cases and led to the recovery of narcotics and property valued at more than $2.1 million, according to board statistics. A total of $116,525 has been paid in reward money. The crimes include 17 homicides or attempted homicides, 11 rapes, 217 drug cases and more than 400 residential and commercial burglaries.
In Fairfax County, 1,240 cases have been closed through the Crime Solvers Program, set up in 1979. Property and narcotics valued at $3 million have been recovered.
The Prince George's County program, also begun in 1979, has led to the closing of 612 cases, including 47 homicides, 30 attempted homicides and eight rapes, and $127,600 has been paid in rewards.
Statistics for the eight other programs:
Prince William County, founded in 1983, 599 closed cases.
The District of Columbia, established in 1981, 566 closed felony cases.
Alexandria, begun in 1982, 343 closed cases.
Calvert County, begun in 1987, 14 closed cases.
Charles County, founded in 1981, 170 closed cases.
Loudoun County, begun in 1980, 58 closed cases.
Manassas, founded in 1987, 29 closed cases.
Falls Church, founded in 1979. No statistics were available.