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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- We continue our coverage on Operation Safer Streets with something we show you every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on 23 News: Crime Stoppers. It turns out the TV may not be the only place you've been noticing its message. 23 News hit the streets and tells us how electronic billboards are helping catch criminals.
Many of us drive by them every day: electronic billboards that advertise different products and companies. You may have noticed an advertisement of a different kind: Crime Stoppers 'wanted' mugs.
Crime Stoppers Coordinator Rich Gambini said, "We keep the pictures out there through the television media and computers and of course now we have this wonderful device electronic billboards."
Winnebago county now has seven electronic billboards—they added four more a few months ago.
CrimeStoppers will put up suspects in serious crimes like murder. The most recent suspect is Luis Anaya (read more here). Anaya has been wanted for murder since November 12th and Crime Stoppers says it has received tips on Anaya and other suspects because of the billboards.
Gambini said, “We've got people who have been captured and turned in, in fact, out of state also."
Loves Park resident and driver David Nelson notices the billboard while he drives.
Nelson said, “I think anything Crime Stoppers can do to bring their program forward is well worth it. Everybody keep your eyes open and notice these things because it's just something we can do to help."
It's a service that's alerting the community to make it a safer place.
Lamar Advertising installed the billboards and pays for the Crime Stoppers ads to run as a public service.
Here’s what some of you are saying about electronic billboards on Facebook. Elizabeth says she thinks they're a great idea and adds "They provide an opportunity to talk to kids about the consequences of bad choices. My nine-year-old son asked me 'why is that guy's picture up there?'"