Kalamazoo fund for crime tips against bicyclists grows six-fold in past year

Left to right: Paul Selden, Jeff Getting. (Photo Credit: Mark Rose)

A fund established by an anonymous donor in 2017 to help local law enforcement solve crimes against bicyclists has grown six-fold, according to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting, who made the announcement at Wednesday's Ride of Silence.

The fund, used to reward those who deliver tips related to such crimes through the Silent Observer program, has grown to over $3,000 since its inception, Janine Dales of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office confirmed.

"Since word got out last summer the fund has grown tremendously,” Dales said. “It now stands at more than $3,000, and is likely grow even more with public awareness. The relationship between bicyclists and law enforcement in this community is very strong. The public should be aware of that.”

Paul Selden, founder of Bike Friendly Kalamazoo, presented a check to Getting on Wednesday as a symbolic gesture no behalf of the anonymous donors. Getting said that crimes against bicyclists are at a rise and that motorists need to be more patient and aware on the roadways.

"The collaboration between Silent Observer and Bike Friendly Kalamazoo is a logical extension of that mission. As our community grows we have seen the number of cyclists using our roads increase dramatically. Unfortunately, the number of times that cyclists are the victims of careless drivers is also increasing. My hope is that all drivers will be more aware of non-motorized users but when that fails this donation will be there to help us solve crimes. "

The Silent Observer program was established in 1974 and offers a way for citizens to anonymously report crime tips with the potential for up to $1,000 in rewards if leading to an arrest. You can visit their website here for more information.

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