Crime Stoppers - just how it operates and the changes taking place in how they work with and inform the community.

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

August 1st, 2017



Everyone has heard of Crime Stoppers.

It is an international organization and one of the bigger tools available to the police.

It is an organization that gets information on criminal activity and makes it available to the police without telling the police where the information came from. Its strength is the anonymity that applies to all the information it gets.

Except for an administrative person who handles the telephone and takes care of the paper work Crime Stoppers is a totally volunteer run operation.

Shred event - Cal + Jodie cash

Halton Crime Stoppers chair Cal Millar with HRPS liaison officer Detective Jodi Richmond at the most successful shredding event ever held in Burlington,

Almost every community of any size has Crime Stoppers organization. In Halton Cal Millar, a retired journalist, is the current chair and is supported by a three member executive along with seven directors.

Jan Westcott is the vice-chair, Roger Alfaro, treasurer and Doug Maybee the past chair

Directors are: David Woodm, Ron van der Steen, Wally Trapler, Jane Miller, Rod Piukkala, Bob Maich and Corey Evans.

The Halton Regional Police assign an officer to act as liaison with Crime Stoppers. That liaison person is Detective Constable Jodi Richmond who recently attended a number of conferences and training sessions where she met with people doing the same job in different jurisdictions.

In Halton Region the TIPS go to a secure telephone line that prevents the Crime Stoppers staff from knowing who is calling or what number the call is coming from. All they get is the area code and the first three digits of the number a call is coming from.

Jodi Richmond - smile full

Detective Constable Jodi Richmond, police liaison. with Halton Crime Stoppers

The Crime Stoppers staff person takes the call and notes the information which she gives to the police liaison officer, Jodi Richmond. A caller is never asked to identify themselves.

Depending on the type of criminal event that is being reported Richmond puts in a call to the relevant division of the HRPS and they take the matter from there. All the police have is information about what a caller thinks is a criminal event.

It could be something to do with a driver behaving erratically behind the wheel of a car or the witnessing of an assault or witnessing a theft taking place.

Richmond knows all there is to know about every department within the police service and can be in instant contact with the appropriate people.

During her training Richmond learned that in the United States the Crime Stoppers operation is driven by the rewards. More than 90% of the calls the Americans get is from people who want and expect to receive the reward that is available. In Canada Richmond said, less than 5% of the reward money is claimed.

In Canadian jurisdictions the information received goes directly to the appropriate police department. Richmond said that in many American communities the Crime Stoppers operation gets involved in some of the early investigation work.

In Canada Crime Stoppers depends on local media to get their message out. The Gazette worked with Crime Stoppers on getting the message out to the public about their annual sensitive document shredding event.

Shred event Beast

The star of every shredding event is a truck that shreds documents on location. It was filled to capacity at the June shredding event in Burlington.

The June event raised more in the way of way of donations than any previous shredding event and shredded more paper than they have ever done in the past.

Richmond told of the way several American Crime Stoppers organizations are working more tightly with the police on getting information and warnings out to the public.

Some jurisdictions have electronic kiosks strategically place in communities where information is sent to the kiosk electronically and can be updated in minutes.

Crime Stoppes kiosks

American law enforcement agencies work with Crime Stoppers and have electronic kiosks that are fed information via the internet alerting the public of people who are wanted by the police.

Thus, explained Richmond let the police get information on very fluid situations out to the public immediately. It is a little like the Amber Alert used to alert the public when a child has gone missing.

The kiosks have a lot more information and the ability to use photographs. Some American jurisdictions talk of having kiosks at every supermarket.

Cal Millar, chair of Halton Crime Stoppers said he looks forward to raising the profile of the organization and to continue to work with the public to play a role in the apprehension of criminals and at the same time to work with strategic partners to be part of the process of educating the public on the increasing sophistication of the criminal element.

The size of the financial losses people suffer because of Identity Theft and internet based scams where the police struggle to keep up with the latest wrinkle is daunting.

Apprehension is a large part of the work the police do – Crime Stoppers will continue to be involved in helping the police catch criminals – what they would like to do as well is educate the public about just what it is the criminals are doing and prevent some of the crimes that in some cases clean people out financially.

The Gazette will follow up the article with how people get involved with the organization as volunteers.

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