App makes reporting crime tips easier in Marathon Co.
On May 5, 2009, Marathon County Crime Stoppers Vice President Tom Radenz woke up to the sound of his wife screaming.
"She heard some rattling or some noise out in the kitchen, she thought one of the boys was up, we have two young boys, and she went out to find there was a man in the house,” Radenz said.
The man escaped, but was later captured.
"This individual broke into a number of homes, and they eventually caught him because of a tip,” Radenz said.
Now, thanks to the new PC Tips smartphone app, submitting a tip to Marathon County Crime Stoppers is easier than ever.
Submitting a tip through the app is easy to do. Once the app is opened on the smartphone, a user can set their location, select the type of crime they want to report, enter any information needed, and submit it. Photos, videos, and documents can also be uploaded. Unlike text message tips used in the past, those submitted through the app have no length limitations.
"This makes it a lot cleaner to do that, and it's a lot easier to manipulate the software,” Radenz said.
The app coincides with the 25th anniversary of Marathon County Crime Stoppers in the community.
In 2016 alone, Marathon County Crime Stoppers received 281 tips. Those tips led to 86 arrests in 64 cases, and $23,000 worth of property being recovered.
In Rothschild, tips have helped police in at least five cases over the past several years.
One of those cases involved an 18-year-old accused of setting fires at George Street Park.
Captain Kevin Ostrowski with the Rothschild Police Department, said Crime Stoppers provides the department with valuable information in the case.
“Without Crime Stoppers, it would have taken us a lot longer to identify the person,” Ostrowski said.
Radenz and his family were not hurt in their incident more than seven years ago, but he hopes his story will encourage others to report crimes they witness, especially through the new app.
"It's a great way to do it, you remain anonymous, and the tip gets to the right people instantaneously,” Radenz said.
Residents can still text in tips to Marathon County Crime Stoppers, or use the 24 hour hotline.
If you live outside of Marathon County, both Portage and Wood County Crime Stoppers also allow you to text in information.