It may be one of Richmond Hill’s best kept secrets, though it wasn’t meant to be.
That’s why Corporal Susan Willis, the crime prevention officer with the Richmond Hill Police Department, is spreading the word to city residents about a phone number she said is meant to help the police solve crimes – with a little help from the public.
The RHPD hotline, 459-2878 – the last four digits spell "BUST" – has been in existence for approximately five years. No one seems to know about it, however.
"Right now we get more referrals from Crime Stoppers in Savannah." Willis said. "It’s just not very well publicized and we want to encourage more people to use it."
Using it is as simple as leaving a phone message and it’s up to the caller whether to remain anonymous. The tip line is checked daily by police, Willis said, though callers are also prompted with a message and phone number to the department and also can choose to go online to report crime at www.rhpd.org.
Police Chief Billy Reynolds said police traditionally seek help from the public to fight crime and as the city grows, that reliance on a police-public partnership will have to grow as well.
"We’ve got 28 officers and a citizenry of about 12,000 … and it’s in the neighborhood of 20,000 during the day," he said. "We do rely on partnerships with citizens whenever possible."
The tip line can be used to report any crime, Willis said, though those in progress should be reported to 911.
"It can be used for drug-related crimes, suspicious activity, property crimes or personal crimes," she said. "It’s checked daily so the information can be disseminated through the police department quickly."