The state’s Spanish speakers now have a toll-free number they can call to report crimes and give tips to police.
S.C. Crime Stoppers announced its new Spanish line Friday during a press conference where the program also celebrated it’s 29th year. Crime Stoppers allows the public to phone, text or email anonymous tips that help police catch suspects. Callers also can be eligible for rewards that lead to arrests.
The new Spanish tip line comes on the heels of the creation of a controversial state law that requires law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of anyone they detain or question in connection to crimes. Critics of the law have said it will intimidate the state’s Hispanic residents – especially illegal immigrants – from calling police when they are crime victims because they fear deportation. Many police officers have said they are not concerned with the immigration status of crime victims and want those victims to feel comfortable in calling for help.
The Midlands’ Hispanic community praised the Spanish tip line and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott’s support of it.
"We need to applaud this initiative" said Gregory Torrales, president of the S.C. Hispanic leadership Council. "As of late, the xenophobic agenda of our legislature had created an unwelcoming atmosphere for Spanish speaking individuals in the state. With this initiative, law enforcement officials are acknowledging that Hispanics are an integral part of South Carolina, and that instead of fueling mistrust with draconian immigrations laws, law enforcement needs to be working closer with the Hispanic community"