FARMINGTON — San Juan County Crime Stoppers collected tips that helped in 14 arrests and the program has paid out more $3,600 in local rewards since April 2012.

Robert Florez, who took over as executive director of the program in April, gave San Juan County commissioners a briefing on the program Tuesday night.

In recent years the local program added ways for anonymous people to give tips online and by text messages which has improved cooperation between the public and the program, he said.

Crime Stoppers is a nationwide program that started in Albuquerque in 1975 when a homicide investigation went cold and a detective on the case turned to the public for fresh leads.

The program started in San Juan County in 1977, Florez said.

Farmington, Aztec, Bloomfield and San Juan County all combine to pay Florez' salary.

Other Crime Stoppers expenses are funded by donations, fundraisers, and court-ordered payments to the program, Florez said.

The organization has a website that publicizes crimes and fugitive information in hopes of receiving leads.

People can also give crime tips by calling a hotline, texting the organization or filling out a tip online.

Instructions on how to tip Crime Stoppers is available on its website.

"Besides receiving tips, it's a resource for publicity when we need it," Farmington Police Sgt. Brandon Lane said. "When we're looking for information on a case that's gone cold we can basically send (Crime Stoppers) anything we want put out."

Since Florez took over as executive director, Crime Stoppers tips have contributed to 14 arrests, cleared six cases and helped recover $4,100 of stolen property.

Since 1977, San Juan County Crime Stoppers has led to 1,352 arrests, paid $150,000 in local rewards and recovered nearly $4 million in missing property and illegal drugs.

"A call that comes into us is anonymous, we don't see the phone numbers," Florez said. "We just want to keep our streets safe."

Ryan Boetel can be reached at rboetel@daily-times.com; 564-4644. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/rboetel