June 26--Officials with Crime Alert Berks County have another tool for raising funds and convincing people to share information about crimes through their anonymous tip line: miniature golf.
Organizers of the program, which offers cash rewards for tips related to criminal investigations, and law enforcement officials gathered Monday morning for the opening of the new Crime Alert Mini Golf course in Kenhorst.
The course was built this spring as an extension of the Dairy Queen franchise in the same plaza, at Route 625 and 724, which is owned by Crime Alert board member and longtime fundraiser Hamid B. Chaudhry.
Chaudhry said 20 percent of the money raised at the course at all times, before expenses, will go to the Crime Alert program. The course is set against a mural of the Crime Alert logo, has signs throughout advertising the group's tip line and includes a Crime Alert wishing well on one of the holes that players can toss change into.
The course also has inside references to the Gov. Mifflin School District, such as holes based on principals' catch phrases, but the Crime Alert theme is dominant.
"Name recognition is very important," said Barry E. Rohrbach, a Cumru Township commissioner and president of Crime Alert. "Anybody who comes through here will see that mural."
And that's the idea behind the course, Chaudhry said. People will only call Crime Alert's tip line if they know about it.
It's a message, Chaudhry said, that Crime Alert especially needs to get out to the demographic that will most likely use the course, kids and teens. Students likely know if their classmates or friends were involved in a crime, such as a robbery, and will be more likely to help police if they understand that they'll be rewarded, he said.
"They're going to make out better than the robber," Chaudhry said.
Chaudhry added that recent bank robberies and violent incidents in suburban Berks have him worried. If it can happen to his neighbors, it could happen at one of his Dairy Queens, he said.
District Attorney John T. Adams said he hopes the extra publicity for the program will help people understand that they can make tips anonymously.
"Most times people are willing to talk but sometimes they're afraid," he said.
Contact Liam Migdail-Smith: 610-371-5022 or [email protected].
Copyright 2012 - Reading Eagle, Pa.