Crime Stoppers expanding, needs local volunteers 0
Crime Stoppers flags are flying high to mark a new year for a successful program.
January is Crime Stoppers Month and an excellent opportunity to learn more about the program or become involved in an international movement where volunteer members of the public work together with police to keep their own communities safe from crime.
"There is still a strong need for more volunteers in the area, particularly in the Wasaga Beach, Clearview Township and Collingwood areas," said Dawn Martin Police Co-ordinator for Crime Stoppers Simcoe Muskoka District (CSSDM), Central Region Crime Management, Ontario Provincial Police.
Crime Stoppers partners with the public, the media, and the police to help solve and prevent crime in the community. Crime Stoppers of Simcoe Dufferin Muskoka is one of 107 programs operating in Canada. Police receive thousands of tips from a local Crime Stoppers program, about various crimes that occur in the community.
How does it work? Locallyfocused committees are based in within the local region where committee and Board of Director volunteers enjoy out-of-the-ordinary opportunities in promoting Crime Stoppers awareness, being a vital component of the decision making processes, and have a recognized and respected voice in their community.
The enormous success of this program is a direct result of the efforts of valued volunteers.
"Most recently, our media partners were instrumental in assisting us in promoting the need for volunteers in the Collingwood, Clearview and Wasaga Beach areas. We have had a great response from the public and have several new committee members as a result," said Martin.
Since its humble beginnings in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1976, Crime Stoppers has expanded internationally with programs successfully operating around the world. To date, Crime Stoppers International reports statistics including 858,467 arrests, 1,332,880 unsolved cases solved, $9,981,342,161 in recovered drugs and stolen property, and $95,456,187 paid in cash rewards to tipsters.
Since 1987 (to December 2010) 47,086 calls have been made regionally to CSSDM with TIPS resulting in 3,583 arrests, 5689 cases solved, $10,649,794 in recovered property and
$52,756,962. in seized drugs.
Each tip is investigated independently and potentially used to assist ongoing police investigations into major crimes, obtain warrants, seize illegal drugs, recover stolen property, identify criminals and make arrests.
On a typical day Martin is in charge of reading tips that are submitted through the web site: www.sdmcrimestoppers.com,or a toll free telephone line. One Monday she realizes through the numbers received that crime is on the rise.
"As I read the tips that were submitted over the weekend I realize there are a lot of concerned citizens out there, watching out for their neighbours, homes community and most importantly their loved ones. One tip could be from a concerned neighbour, another from a business owner and one could be from relative friend or associate of a suspect. One tip reads as if it is a means to recovery, or maybe redemption, for someone suffering with addiction. Each caller has their own story to tell and each one called for a different reason," Martin wrote in a recent press release describing her role with Crime Stoppers.
"The phone starts to ring and more tips are coming in. Tipsters are providing information about crimes long ago, crimes of recent times and crimes to occur in the future. It's all there - names, dates, locations, hiding places license plates, and detail after detail. There are calls from previous Tipsters with more information to help police and some looking for an update to see if their Tips led to an arrest. I have the pleasure of telling someone 'yes, your tip led to an arrest!' and the tipster is eligible for a cash reward."
More often than not, Martin will get the reply "Thanks but I am not really interested in the reward, I really just wanted to help". She thanks the tipster for their generosity and assures them the reward money they have chosen not to claim will remain in the reward fund.
Some information could qualify a caller for up to $2,000 as a cash reward depending on the outcome of that call. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display, so callers are not identified and never have to identify themselves. They never have to go to court.
Martin says because Crime Stoppers is a non-profit registered charitable organization it is not government funded but must raise funds in order to maintain the toll free tip line, cover administration costs, and of course to keep the reward fund viable.
"To date, our program has paid out rewards totalling $261,215, all of which was raised through the fund raising efforts of our volunteers, and through corporate or personal donation to the program," said Martin.
"The OPP provides Crime Stoppers with a full time Police Coordinator. A constable is assigned to coordinate the program, liaise with more than a dozen law enforcement agencies, and coordinates the anonymous information coming into the tip line and to work with the media in the sharing of information about the program."
Martin says media partners attribute greatly to the Crime Stoppers success story.
"We rely on them to ensure the public knows about the toll free tip Line, and especially that they can call us anonymously 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Martin.
"Additionally, our media partners generously support us by promoting our results each month and by featuring our fund raising events such as our Annual Gala Ball & Silent Auction, the Annual Golf Tournament, Race Night at Georgian Downs, and more. A number of projects are in the works and can be implemented with strong committee membership."
Martin says the OPP, as well as municipal police services and local elected officials endorse Crime Stoppers working in their areas to assist the police in solving crimes.
Volunteers meet once each month to develop public awareness or fund raising events that reflect the local flair of their own communities.
To learn more about volunteering with Crime Stoppers, becoming a corporate sponsor of one of CSSDM events, or to request a volunteer application, please contact Donna Dahr at 705-726-2237.