There is no doubt in our minds that Crime Stoppers is one of the most effective public safety initiatives ever proposed.
Proof of that is seen in their own statistics, drawn from a 2013 annual report. In its first two decades, anonymous tips to South Okanagan Similkameen Crime Stoppers have helped police recover $1.8 million in stolen property, seize $11.5 million worth of drugs and make 803 arrests. Crime Stoppers has been around so long now that most people can’t remember a time when they didn’t see the familiar red and black logo in the newspaper or on the TV news. At the time, reaching out to the public for help wasn’t new, but the idea of doing it on a regular basis, and for crimes of all levels was.
In 1976, a police detective, Greg MacAleese, helped develop a program that offered both anonymity and cash rewards to those wanting to offer a tip on a crime. That anonymity has been one of the biggest factors in making Crime Stoppers a success, as has the program’s focus on taking advantage of all possible media, especially electronic media, to publicize unsolved crimes.
The fight against crime has many levels, from the RCMP to civilian participation through Citizens On Patrol or even unsanctioned routes like the Penticton Shoplifters and Thieves Exposed Facebook page. Crime Stoppers, though, has built a strong structure based on a three-way alliance between the media, the police and the community, encouraging and enabling private citizens to share information with the police.
The Western News is proud to have been a long-time participant in that alliance. Join us as we honour and acknowledge the volunteers who make Crime Stoppers work.