Last year was record setting for the Toronto Crime Stoppers Program.
The 6,025 tips and additional 10,536 follow-up tips resulted in a 90 per cent increase in arrests, 13 per cent increase in charges laid, 113 per cent increase in property seized and a staggering 394 per cent increase in illegal firearms taken off the streets.
The tips and follow-ups led to over 200 arrests, 700 charges laid, $789,421 million in property seized and over $1 million in illegal drugs taken off the streets.
A total of 89 illegal firearms were seized in 2022.
Several tips also helped solve seven homicide cases and assisted in cracking cases pertaining to robberies, sexual assaults and human trafficking.
At a press conference on January 5 at Toronto Police headquarters to celebrate Crime Stoppers Month, Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue thanked the group of eight volunteers operating the program that is one of the largest in the world.
“I want to say thank you to all volunteers for your continued dedication in helping us make our streets a safer place to live, work and play,” she said. “As we begin the New Year, the theme for Crime Stoppers 2023 – Stand Up, Stand Together – signifies that we stand up and stand together for safe communities and the fight against criminal activity.”
Since the Toronto Crime Stoppers program was launched in 1984, Toronto Police has received more than 183,000 tips that has led to 11,600 arrests, over 40,000 charges laid, $65.5 million in property seized and nearly $318.5 million in illegal drugs taken off the streets.
Operating under their new Rebrand Strategy launched in 2020, the program received 6,025 tips with another 10,536 follow-up tips, resulting in over $1 million of illegal narcotics seized, 200 arrests and 800 charges laid.
“Those are indicators of a program that is successful,” said Mayor John Tory. “But in the end, it would not work without citizens and it would not work without volunteers who help to keep it going. It also works because of the excellence and the co-operation of the members of the Toronto Police Service who support it.”
Toronto Crime Stoppers Chair Sean Sportun said they recognize the critical importance partnerships hold in the prevention of crime and the positive impact such collaborative actions can have on protecting the vital interests of a community.
“Our commitment to community safety with a focus on crime prevention is part of the foundation of what we do at Crime Stoppers and our hard work continues to have an impact on helping combat criminal activity in the City of Toronto,” he noted.
The program received several provincial awards this year. They include a Special Project honour for its auto theft initiative, Project Lockdown, and the Marlon Moon Memorial Award of Excellence for program development and community reward initiatives to enhance the safety of the city.
It was also the recipient of the Crime Stoppers International Global Award for productivity.
Stressing that community safety is a shared responsibility, Sportun said everyone must work together with a collaborative goal to make a difference in crime prevention.
“Toronto Crime Stoppers is committed in our efforts to mobilize the community to See it. Say it. Stop it for a safer Toronto,” he added. “Doing the right thing, truly, is its own reward. Remember, you remain anonymous, criminals don’t.”
Toronto Crime Stoppers presented awards to Constable Lauren Vanspall, Amin Atri and Jeff Poulin of GardaWorld and Jason Lyall Keep Your Community Safe (KYCS) for their significant contributions to the program.
To celebrate this year’s Crime Stoppers launch, the CN Tower will be illuminated tonight in red and white lights.
The program is supported by funds accrued from the annual Crime Stoppers Chief of Police Gala and the Toronto Police Crime Stoppers charity golf tournament.
Crime Stoppers is the brainchild of Canadian-born Greg MacAleese, who was an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department in New Mexico. After running out of leads in a homicide investigation, the frustrated cop turned to the public for assistance in 1976.
He produced the first crime re-enactment that was aired on local television and made available to other media outlets and promised that anyone providing information leading to an arrest would be eligible for a cash reward.
Within hours of the broadcast, police received a tip that led to the arrest of two suspects who were charged with murder. They were sentenced to life terms with no chance of parole.
Toronto, which implemented the initiative 39 years ago, has one of the largest programs in the world. There are close to 1,300 Crime Stoppers programs in nearly 20 countries.
Anyone with information about a crime that has occurred, or about to happen, can make an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477) or visit 222.tips.com.