By Matt Kroschel

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — In a sign of the times, one Colorado Crime Stoppers chapter will cease to exist. Officials blame social media and a changing crime fighting environment. It could signal the end of the well-known organization elsewhere in Colorado, too.

The Garfield County Chapter of Crime Stoppers will officially cease operations in Garfield County effective Oct. 1.

Crime Stoppers of Garfield County is a non-profit program run by a citizens Board of Volunteers, according to a news release from Garfield Sheriff Thursday.

The Garfield County sheriff says that Crime Stoppers has provided a viable and trusted link for residents and witnesses to provide information and tips to law enforcement while remaining anonymous. If the tips were useful and led to an arrest then a monetary reward of up to $1,000 was provided to the tipster.

According to the sheriff’s office, during its multi-decade existence in Garfield County, Crime Stoppers has assisted law enforcement in solving various crimes and has been a valuable resource in the overall effort to fight crime.

While the Crime Stoppers Organization remains a valuable tool in many areas, its usefulness in Garfield County no longer justifies its operational costs and the time required of its volunteers. The use of surveillance cameras, at many businesses, as well as game cameras and dash cameras owned by local residents, has aided law enforcement in their ability to fight crime and solve cases.

Additionally the advent of social media, and its development, as well as cellular phones with cameras has enabled law enforcement to uncover leads and solve cases in a much more efficient manner.

The sheriff’s office and many of the municipal police departments have their own Facebook pages and other social media accounts they use to post crimes, ask for information and receive tips.

This has become a valuable resource for law enforcement.

With the closure of Crime Stoppers, the Board has elected to return the 2018 donations to its supporters, if they choose to be reimbursed.

Any leftover funds will be given to the Victim’s Advocate Program in Garfield County.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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