Potomac News Online | Emergency Services: Crime Solvers makes the area safer

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Local police departments often rely on tips from Prince William County residents to help solve crimes.

Tips from people involved in programs such as Crime Solvers, Neighborhood Watch, Fleet Watch, Business Watch and Worship Watch help the Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park police departments catch criminals and make the county a safer place to live.


County residents who call in Crime Solvers tips have helped police arrest murderers, carjackers, burglars and other offenders and have earned cash rewards for their efforts.

The Crime Solvers number for Prince William police is (866) 411-TIPS. In Manassas and Manassas Park, the Crime Solvers number is (703) 330-0330. Collect calls are accepted.

Callers don’t have to give their names or testify in court. They are assigned an identification number in case they need to phone again with further information about a crime.

Anyone who provides information leading to an arrest is eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. The rewards may be greater than $1,000 when individuals, groups or businesses have made additional contributions. A Crime Solvers panel decides how much reward money is given.


There are more than 150 grassroots Neighborhood Watch groups operating in Prince William County. The county also has three apartment watches monitoring apartment complexes.

A police officer works with each Neighborhood Watch group, acting as a liaison between the police and the community. Police count on Neighborhood Watch members to keep an eye on their communities and report crimes or suspicious activities. Members patrol the streets in their neighborhoods to provide a visible deterrent to crime.

The program began in 1979 and is run by the county’s Crime Prevention Bureau. For more information about joining watch groups or organizing a new one, contact the bureau at (703) 792-7270.

The county also has Business Watch programs based in the Potomac Mills mall, Manassas Mall and 10 other locations. The businesses that participate train employees in security skills such as the protection of assets, how to spot bad checks and how to prevent shoplifting and robbery.

Potomac Mills has an office where volunteers and officers answer questions and give tips to customers and merchants on personal and property safety and security.

County police also sponsor a Fleet Watch program mainly for businesses with large fleets of drivers, such as cable television crews, power company workers and taxi services.

Twenty-seven businesses with more than 1,000 vehicles participate. Drivers are trained to recognize the types of crime they may witness and to watch out for criminal activity.

The Worship Watch program began in January 1998 and includes two churches: Little River Baptist Church in Dale City and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Lake Ridge.

Contact the Crime Prevention Bureau for information about the watch groups.

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