By Errol Castens
Daily Journal Oxford Bureau
OXFORD - A new plan passed by the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors will essentially have criminals helping to fight crime.
Supervisors on Monday approved a $2 assessment on each misdemeanor handled in the county's Justice Court. The money will be used to build up the pool of funds available for the local CrimeStoppers program.
The board had previously voted to provide a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of people involved in dog fighting, a crime District 4 Supervisor Ray Sockwell said is seeing a "rising popularity" in Lafayette County.
"I feel like we need to address all felony crimes," he said, "but I think it would be just about impossible for us to pay for information in all cases."
Most funds raised for the program now go to solve burglaries and other thefts, primarily getting information through pawn shops.
"This is a good idea," said Robert Patterson, who chairs the Lafayette County CrimeStoppers program. "We're hoping the city (of Oxford) will do this in Municipal Court, too."
The assessment will be applied to misdemeanors such as petty thefts, minor drug and alcohol violations, simple assault, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, gambling, prostitution and some shoplifting.
A Lafayette County Justice Court official said some 11,000 cases were filed last year, but no estimate was available on how many of those would qualify for the assessment.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or email@example.com.