Want to earn a quick buck and crack down on crime?

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Trading information for financial gain is not a new concept, but during these tough economic times it can mean a quick buck for some people. When the economy goes down, crime goes up, and so do the calls to Crime Stoppers.

Even the criminals are taking advantage of selling their information during tough times. As the recession drags on, the financial incentive to leak clues is enticing some.

"People need money and this is a way to obtain money, you can just turn what knowledge you have into cash," said Lt. David Young, Lufkin Police Department spokesperson.

And people are catching on. In fact, tips in the second quarter of this year are twice that of last year.

"I mean they're not saying you have to call in for free. I mean they'll reimburse people for their information you know whatever helps out," said Sgt. Bart Riley, Angelina County Sheriff's Office criminal investigator.

When times aren't exactly picture perfect, people pick-up the phone. "It makes it tough on people to live. There's an increase in crime and in turn there's an increase in the reporting," said Sgt. Riley.

He said the cash tips have helped crack down on drugs. "It helps us you know with our lab bust and drug bust," said Sgt. Riley.

However, police said some tipsters are looking out for their own interests. "Some of this we believe may be other criminals who are eliminating the competition," said Lt. Young.

"People are trying to make it anyway they can, just trying to get by to the best of their ability and sometimes they have to result to other means," said Sgt. Riley.

Lt. Young said people can bypass being labeled as a narc. "We work very hard to protect the anonymity of our callers," said Lt. Young.

The Nacogdoches Crime Stoppers also confirms tips have increased as crime increases.