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MISSION — Mission Crime Stoppers recently welcomed their new executive board members that assist the group in community outreach as well as support police in stopping crime.

New executive board members are Rene Flores, treasurer, Yadira Ramos, secretary, Randy Parez, president, Dianna Alaniz, vice president and David Escalera as historian.

The past board members and volunteers have worked countless hours throughout the year helping with community involvement and receiving leads that led to 85 arrests, group officials said.

To date, Mission Crime Stoppers has received leads that led to the arrests of five fugitives or violent crimes, 60 arrests for possession of narcotics, eight arrests for robbery, three for kidnapping, two for graffiti, five arrests for credit abuse/fraud and one arrest for auto theft, police said.

Mission Crime Stoppers also get involved with community policing events such as Neighborhood Watch and Campus Crime Stoppers.

Through Neighborhood Watch, residents are educated on what to look for and encouraged to report suspicious activity; Campus Crime Stoppers does the same with students at Veterans Memorial and Mission High schools. The students have the same responsibilities as the adults with their own board members and tough decisions to make.

Assistant Police Chief and Director of Mission Crime Stoppers Martin Garza said the Campus Crime Stoppers teaches students civic responsibilities.

“(Campus Crime Stoppers) keeps campuses safer for students and staff, and promotes security and awareness,” Garza said of the program.

Mission Crime Stoppers, the Neighborhood Watch program and Campus Crime Stoppers encourage citizens to report suspicious activity, drug use and other criminal activities they might see. All tips are done anonymously. If a tip leads to an arrest, individuals can receive up to a $1,000 reward.

Mission Crime Stoppers also promotes several events held throughout the year.

The organization conducts fundraisers for the Amanda Longoria Scholarship, named in memory of the police chief’s daughter. Two scholarships are awarded every year.

Fundraisers include golf tournaments, bike runs, skeet shoots and other activities.

The organization also helps with National Night Out by providing children with school supplies and bringing as many people together as possible from western Hidalgo County area.

Operation Kops for Kids is promoted through Mission Crime Stoppers during the Christmas holiday season. The organization collects funds and toys to hand out to needy families. Toys have been given to nearly 1,000 kids in recent years.

Other activities include Halloween night activities and the annual Citrus Fiesta parade. The organization also helps people in need, the elderly and victims of crimes.

Garza said the organization has given them the opportunity to assist people in need without the help from the police department, city council, the mayor or the City of Mission in general.

“We consider ourselves as an organization that is there to be able to give something back to the community and help the police department,” he said.

Mission Crime Stoppers welcomes volunteers to their monthly meetings held the first Thursday of the month at 5 p.m. at Mission Police Department.

For more information about the organization or how to help, call Investigator Romeo Ortega, assistant coordinator, at 956-458-9046 or Garza at 956-458-9049. Sgt. Jody Tittle, coordinator, can be reached by calling the police department at 956-584-5000.

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