FORT MYERS, Fla. -- From 2007 to last year, there have been over 100 unsolved homicides in Fort Myers, a number that would be significantly lower if many witlessness would be willing to come forward.
“Silence isn’t going to help anything or anyone. You want to save our community, the community has the power to make that happen,” said Trish Route, an employee with Lee County Crimestoppers.
After 24-year-old Howell Donaldson was brought in as the Tampa serial killer, Tuesday, when a McDonald's employee called in a tip to police, the situation left Southwest Florida locales wondering the difference they could make in their own communities.
Fort Myers coffee shop employee, Rosa Zoghbi, says she remembers the Zombicon shooting where a man was killed, just down the street from her store. With still no arrest made, she says she's determined not to become the victim.
“I think that’s what makes a victim, a victim. You know, we think that it’s never going to happen to us… and we should probably be more aware, instead of just taking for granted that nothing’s going to happen.”
Route says it's typically the fear that tips won't remain anonymous that keeps people from calling in. However, she says locales should remember Crimestoppers goes above and beyond to protect a tipster's identity, which includes a server that blocks all IP addresses, codes to replace names and phone without caller I.D.
She says the key to solving a crime could lie in one tip.
“On every unsolved case, every single case, there’s information that can close those cases right now.”