Clearwater PD seeks to exchange anonymity for answers

BY YOLANDA COWART, Founder of the Springtime Club, Inc.

CLEARWATER – The code of silence has continued to permeate our community despite every concerted effort made by the Springtime Club, the City of Clearwater’s Police Department and Crime Stoppers to combat it.

Many people continue to remain silent when they observe a crime or witness violence because they fear for their own safety or are uncomfortable with cooperating with law enforcement. By sharing information you have about a crime that has been or may be committed, you can help the police solve crimes and prevent future crimes from taking place in our community.

The Springtime Club understands that it may be difficult to report an incident, so it is teaming up with the City of Clearwater’s Police Department and Crime Stoppers to persuade citizens to take advantage of a new crime prevention app that has been adopted by the department to allow witnesses and residents with information to report crime tips anonymously to help address violence and deter crimes within our community.

The City of Clearwater’s Police Department is taking crime tips submission to the next level and are encouraging members of the public with cellphones, iPads or tablets to download and use a free mobile phone/tablet app to assist local law enforcement in stopping and deterring crime in our neighborhoods.

There are several ways to report an anonymous crime tip.  You can send an anonymous tip via text message to the Clearwater Police Department by texting the keyword CWPD and your tip to 847411 (Tip411).

You can use the Department’s anonymous online form in the comfort of your own home or download the free CLEARWATER PD TIPS APP, now available on the Apple Store (for iPhone / iPad), or on the Google Play store (for Android devices).

 “Eliminating violence and any type of crime in our community starts with a partnership between our department and our community,” said Police Chief Daniel Slaughter. “We stand ready to work with all of our community members and partners to make our community a safer place.”

The Springtime Club, Crime Stoppers and the City of Clearwater’s Police Department is encouraging the community to utilize these new anonymous crime tip tools to help provide information on three recent violent crimes that took place in the African-American community.

On January 21 at 2 p.m., a black male identified as Milton Alexander sustained several gunshot wounds during an altercation that took place at an apartment building. The crime took place at 1426 Spring Lane, Clearwater, in front of Apartment #3. Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses describe two black males running to a dark colored vehicle to flee the area quickly.

On May 4, a white male identified as Charles J. Ferrell, was found dead inside an unoccupied residence. The body was discovered at 806 North Osceola Ave., Clearwater. The victim had been beaten and sustained severe upper body trauma that led to his death. The investigation is ongoing and detectives continue to seek further information for this case.

On May 26 at 9 p.m., two suspects exited a dark colored car at 1486 Overlea St., Clearwater. Both suspects made contact with one victim, a black male identified as Justin Austin outside the location and forced him into the residence at gunpoint. Once inside, both suspects forced Justin to the ground and struck a second female victim in the face. Prior to them leaving they shot Justin, striking him as he lay on the ground.

In an appeal to help aid the investigation Chief Daniel Slaughter explained: “Any type of violence is unacceptable in our community, but this heinous crime was especially concerning since it was committed in broad daylight. We are confident that members of our community possess information about this crime and ask them to help us prevent this from happening to someone else by coming forward.

Together, we will stand against this violence on behalf of all that live and work in our community.”

The Springtime Club wants to convey and endorse in its public awareness campaign that the new technology and resources for reporting crime tips are completely anonymous. Tipsters using these crime prevention tools never have to identify themselves, do not have to interact with law enforcement and never have to participate in law proceedings or testify in court.

If you have information about these crimes, we encourage you to take advantage of these anonymous resources now. For those that are not comfortable with the new crime prevention tools, you can still call directly using the Clearwater Police Hotline at (727) 562-4080 or use the Clearwater Police anonymous Tip Line at (727) 562-4422.

One Reply to “Clearwater PD seeks to exchange anonymity for answers”

  1. Celeste says:

    I think with todays day and age, it is hard for the public to try to “anonymously” identify a possible suspect by phone or computer. Because, if we do have information, as most of us know by now, anyone who “tattletales” fear thay they can be traced. More so, if they live near a neighbor whom maybe a suspect, they, the ” tattletalers”, fear a police car in their driveway and the suspect will be aware of whats going on. Just as people are able to drop off a baby at a fire station and/or a hospital anonymously, no questions asked, the same should be for turning someone in. Write down on a piece of paper the “info about the crime”. Maybe there’s to many legalities to that. But, I would also thnk that would be the case for a baby. People have cameras outside their houses nowadays, so if cops show up at houses, it will work its way down the line, rumors get blown out of hand. Im sure you get my drift. If people could turn in notes, written or typed, to a slot box for info, whether it be grocery stores, fire stations, etc, let’s see if it helps find a few suspects. It wouldnt hurt to try.

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