As published in The Erin Advocate
Guelph Wellington Crime Stoppers got a boost from the Rotary Club of Erin for its plan to erect large signs at prominent entrances to the Town.
Members voted to donate $500 for one eight-foot wide sign, promoting Crime Stoppers’ toll-free phone number for anonymous crime tips: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), and its website: www.crimestoppersguelphwellington.com.
The donations are used directly for the signs, not as a fundraising effort, said John Svensson of Crime Stoppers, guest speaker at the Rotary meeting March 6.
“Our job is to make the phone ring,” he said.
Rotary will get recognition on the sponsor section of the sign. If other clubs also donate, there could be several signs, with logos from all the sponsors on all the signs.
The Guelph Wellington group is marking its 25th anniversary. Crime Stoppers is a partnership between the police, the media (publicizing crime incidents) and the community (providing anonymous tips, which can now be made on-line).
“Sometimes we’ve been able to recover property before the owner even knows it’s gone,” said Svensson. “Each community has different issues. Break-ins have been a problem here.”
Crime Stoppers does not use Call Display and goes to great lengths to protect the identity of tipsters.
“This has been challenged to the Supreme Court, and successfully defended,” said Svensson. There are 39 Crime Stoppers programs in Ontario, and nearly 1,000 worldwide.
Tipsters get a confidential code number. The tips are presented to the Crime Stoppers board by a coordinator, with a recommendation on the reward amount. If a tip results in an arrest or closed case, the amount can range from $50 to $2,000, depending on the value of the information, the value of materials seized, the level of risk to the tipster and the number of arrests, charges and cases cleared.
After the reward is approved, it does not need to be collected right away, and the right to collect it does not expire.
Since the local program started in 1988, it has received almost 17,000 calls, resulting in 1,463 arrests, 2,191 cases cleared, 3,958 charges laid and recovery of more than $36.8 million in property and narcotics off the street.
Rewards for tips have totalled $148,810. Crime Stoppers is financed through individual and corporate support, not by tax dollars.