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Tip program aims at school crime
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A big gang fight is planned after school just blocks away from the campus.

Someone vandalized the school over the weekend and all the students know who did it.

A student bragged about stealing items from the campus over the weekend.

All three scenarios are examples of crimes that may be reported to the new Campus Crime Stoppers tip line program now offered at Mae Hensley and Blaker-Kinser junior high schools, as well as Ceres, Central Valley and Argus high schools.

The program is made possible with the cooperation of the Ceres Unified School District and the Ceres Police Department. through the Modesto Area Crime Stoppers program.

The tip line, 521-4636, is for reporting potential crimes that could take or have taken place on or near school campuses. Tipsters may remain anonymous and be eligible for cash rewards if their tips stop a crime from happening on or near a school or helps locate someone wanted for a crime.

"It's the same format as the regular Crime Stoppers except this is an opportunity for kids to keep their campus safe," said Ceres Police Community Relations Officer Enrique Perez.

Students may also report knowledge of under-aged drinking parties planned, and pending gang fights on or near the school.

"We've all heard in the past of school vandalism that occurs during winter or spring break or summer break," said Perez. "Kids know who did it because kids will talk. They can anonymously forward that information and we'll catch that individual and hold them accountable. This basically empowers young people to help take care of the schools that belong to them."

The old system of reporting crimes to the principal always came with the risk of the tipster being found out by other students as a "snitch," said Perez. The new system allows police to question the tipsters questions anonymously - through an incrypted message system - without ever knowing the identity of the tipsters.

"They get the tip number and when an arrest is made for the crime they're reporting then they qualify for a reward," said Perez.

Stopping a gang fight would also qualify the tipster for a reward, he said.

On-line tips may also be reported to and click on "Send a Tip."

The program should not be confused with the city of Ceres' online crime reporting system used by the general public.

For more information on Modesto Area Crime Stoppers contact Carla Castro at 572-0741.