Crime Stoppers shaped by the communities they serve

January is “Crime Stoppers Month” and a time when social media highlights the work they do. Several flag-raising events are slated to take place in communities and it shines a light on the program, but the hands-on outreach occurs throughout the year across local neighbourhoods.

Leslie Woodley, Simcoe-Muskoka-Dufferin police coordinator, hails from the Barrie detachment and was assigned to her new role in June. Since then, she says, they have increased their social media presence “enormously” in an increased effort to engage the public.

“The information coming back from the public is incredible,” says Woodley. “There is always somebody that knows something.”

The challenge is finding dedicated volunteers, as “everybody’s busy and has their own life.”

“We rely on volunteers that have an interest and passion for this type of a program,” she says. “We have a very active Barrie committee, along with Midland and Innisfil and we’re working on building committees for some of the other areas, as well.”

Their community outreach activities include the Wasaga Beach committee representing Crime Stoppers at Snowman Mania Adult 3-on-3 Hockey tournament in February. Other events they attend are “Wine Not Give to Crime Stoppers” in May, “Carrot Fest” in August, and “Stonebridge Wasaga Beach Blues Festival” in September.

Crime Stoppers works together with the community, the police and the media as a “proactive program for anonymous assistance in solving crime to improve the quality of life,” explains Woodley. “We always tell people that the program is a safe, secure, anonymous way for you to report a crime or potential crime. The concern people have is always the anonymous part, but we always want to assure everybody that it is anonymous.”

Names are never used, and the collection of cash rewards is done through the bank.

“There is no concern there, you don’t ever have to say your name, you never have to make a statement in court, and your calls are not recorded or traced,” says Woodley.

Crime Stoppers have received more than 59,000 tips, with more than 2,000 logged so far in 2017, since the start of the Simcoe-Muskoka-Dufferin chapter in 1987. Other statistics include: 6,894 cases cleared since inception (239 so far in 2017); 9,406 charges laid since inception (775 so far in 2017); $370,797 in rewards approved since inception ($26,545 so far in 2017); and $82,681,966 worth of property recovered since inception ($5,770,975 so far in 2017).

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