A town in central Iowa is having some success with a unique program designed to reduce underage drinking. For 10 years now, Perry Crimestoppers has offered a $500 reward for information about the location of underage parties involving alcohol.
Students or others, motivated by the cash, can call police and remain anonymous. Chuck Painter, with Perry Crimestoppers, says the effort appears to be paying off.
"If they are having parties, they’re being much more careful with them and nobody’s getting hurt. Actually, that’s the underlying goal. Our goal is not to get people in trouble, our goal is to protect our young people," Painter said. The $500 reward is broadcast periodically during the year over the high school intercom system. Reward signs are also posted around town.
"We publish this during graduation time, prom time and during homecoming. We make sure students are reminded of this," Painter said. In the past decade, Painter believes they’ve actually paid-out the $500 reward on seven or eight occasions. Local businesses and residents donate money to finance the program.