Go online and help stop Franklin County crime

by Jim Tuttle from The Public Opinion 04/26/2010
A useful tool for catching criminals in Franklin County recently got a major online upgrade. Franklin County Crime Solvers, a non-profit organization that pays rewards for anonymous information, now has a new website at http://www.franklincountycrimesolvers.org. In the past, the site only featured some background information about Crime Solvers and the group's crime tip phone hotline, 263-3000. Now visitors can read about current unsolved cases, view surveillance camera photos and videos of suspects, submit a tip online, donate money to the cause and more, said the group's vice chairman, William Blednick. "As people move more and more to this type of technology, there are major benefits to a strong online presence." There are currently 15 unsolved cases posted to the site, as well as information about several recently solved crimes. Unlike the old site, the new one will not be static. It will be regularly updated with fresh information whenever it is available, he said. The group also has a Facebook account, and plans are underway to provide similar content there, Blednick said. "I think the Facebook feature will probably reach out to the younger audience." A 21-year-old college student with family ties to Franklin County is largely responsible for the online overhaul. James Walker, studying information technology security at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, designed the site and continues to serve as its webmaster, Blednick said. "He's put a lot of work into it, he really has. He's probably spent 100 hours on it, maybe more." Walker said he still works on the site regularly, and is currently developing an interface for the people at Crime Solvers to easily update the site themselves. This in turn will ensure the site remains relevant and effective. "It's still a work in progress. I'm always working on it, but I think I've made a lot of progress so far." One of the most important changes to the site is the ability to submit a tip anonymously online, Blednick said. He hopes this capability will lead to increased participation in the future. "That's really one of the key features that we want to get out there. A lot of folks are afraid to make a phone call." Franklin County Crime Solvers was founded in 1982. The group works closely with local law enforcement to distribute information about unsolved burglaries, robberies and other crimes. Anonymous tipsters receive cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and conviction. "It's a huge benefit to investigators and law enforcement throughout the county. It works," Blednick said. Shortly after a surveillance photo was posted to the site, two Chambersburg women were recently charged for allegedly stealing over $350 worth of merchandise from the Wal-Mart on Lincoln Way West, he said. "We got 16 or 17 calls almost instantly. They were very well known in the community and everyone in the community ratted them out."


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Contact

Franklin County Crime Solvers
P.O. Box 675
Chambersburg, PA 17201
Hotline: 717.263.3000
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