LAWTON, Okla._Crime Stoppers of Southwest Oklahoma is upping the reward to $5,000 for any tip that helps Lawton police solve a homicide.
With 13 unsolved homicides since 2012, the board of directors hopes the increase will help encourage witnesses to come forward with information on the killers.
The family of Kenneth Young told said it gives them renewed hope that justice will be served. Crime Stoppers rewards this large are rare but it speaks to the board's desire to compel witnesses to come forward to put those to blame behind bars.
For Shaquan Miles and her family, the murder of her brother Kenneth Young is still hard to face. Young was shot in September 2012 in the parking lot of a nightclub on Fort Sill Boulevard. People witnessed the shooting, even providing descriptions of two suspects but no arrests were ever made.
"It makes you sick to your stomach that your brother's killer is still walking around," said Miles.
Crime Stoppers Detective, Chris Harmon, says that it is in cases like this one that the board hopes the increased reward will encourage those witnesses to come forward.
"The detectives have exhausted all leads and we don't want the community to think that they are going to remain unsolved. We need that last little piece of the puzzle to put a case together to present to the D.A. to file charges on these people," said Detective Harmon.
The increase to $5,000 is huge. In fact, it increased the payout by 500%.
"I have seen across the nation some programs will offer up to $5,000 but they are few and far between," said Detective Harmon.
Detective Harmon says rewards this large are typically reserved for specific cases, but with a Crime Stoppers tip solving one of Lawton's homicides last year, the board hopes this year's increase will do the same.
"If we solve one crime based on a tip from the public than we have done our job," said Detective Harmon.
Kenneth Young's family has the same wish that the $5,000 will entice someone who was there that September night to speak up.
"We are hoping that someone should be able to come forward and say something. I am hoping that they will," said Miles.
Detective Harmon encourages anyone that may know something about any unsolved homicide to call Crime Stoppers. No matter how insignificant you may think the tip is, it could be exactly what detectives need to solve the crime.
The $5,000 reward increase will remain in effect until at least the end of 2014. If you have a tip that you would like to report to Crime Stoppers, call 355-INFO. As always, all tips are anonymous.