Community Tips Solving Crime

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair

Writer/Photographer

Community Partnerships and Engagement Unit

In 2023, Toronto Crime Stoppers received 7,096 anonymous tips and processed in excess of 15,000 follow-ups that resulted in the seizure and recovery of $5 million in illegal narcotics, cash and property, 106 arrests and approximately 720 charges laid and the clearance of 148 cases.

Tips also helped Toronto Police recover 42 stolen vehicles, seize 30 firearms and assisted to solve five Homicide cases.

At a media event on January 4 at Toronto Police headquarters to celebrate Crime Stoppers Month, Chief Myron Demkiw thanked the citizens of Toronto for providing tips to keep their city safer.

“We could not have done this without the assistance of the public,” he pointed out. “So thank you to our communities and all who live, work and play in the great city for helping to make Toronto the best and safest place to be.”

Toronto Crime Stoppers is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Retired Staff Superintendent Gary Grant started the program that is the largest in Canada and one of the largest globally.

“The city of Toronto has unique qualities that make the make the work done by our Crime Stoppers program so invaluable. We are home to the only Canadian Major League baseball team and NBA team and our city sees 27.5 million visitors annually,” Chief Demkiw said. “We also experienced 3,600 events, demonstrations and protests last year. Being a large urban city, we also continue to battle gun and gang crime as well as incidents related to human trafficking.”

Between 2011 and 2021, Toronto accounted for 22 per cent of all reported human trafficking incidents in Canada.

“Due to these dynamics seen nowhere else in our country, the value that Toronto Crime Stoppers brings to our Service is immense,” he added. “Our Crime Stoppers program is proudly operated by a group of eight volunteers who do an extraordinary job that is demonstrated by the results.”

In addition to acknowledging Toronto Crime Stoppers management team, the Chief thanked the partners and sponsors along with the media.

Since the Toronto Crime Stoppers program was launched in 1984, Toronto Police has received more than 190,000 tips that has led to 11,700 arrests, over 40,900 charges laid and approximately $389 million in total property seized/recovered.

Toronto Police Services Board Chair Ann Morgan acknowledged that Toronto Crime Stoppers is a dynamic and ever-evolving program.

“Over the years, it has worked to leverage technology to provide modernized methods of securely submitted tips,” she said. “In addition, its programming continuously changes to meet the shifting needs of our communities, recently focussing on gun crime, tracking down high-profile fugitives, addressing vehicle thefts and human trafficking among many other important and emerging areas of concern.”

Morgan also thanked the community for their enormous contribution to the program’s success.

“Without the community, there would be no tips which are the very foundation of this impressive initiative,” she added. “And so, to all of you who play a role in making this amazing program work so well, thank you. Together, we are ensuring that Toronto remains one of the safest cities in the world.”

Ontario’s Solicitor General Michael Kerzner said the government is committed to ensuring that the province is safe.

“Our government is proud of our relationship with the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers and particularly the chapter here,” he said. “That is why we have stepped up to fund $225,000 each year to help this chapter ensure the after-hours answering service continues to operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week. We were also pleased to allocate an additional $200,000 to further support the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers. Fighting crime is important to me and it is important to this government.”

The theme for Crime Stoppers Month 2024 is Your City. Your Safety. Your Call.

To celebrate this year’s Crime Stoppers launch, the CN Tower will be illuminated tonight in red and white lights.

The Toronto program has seen staggering success since individual rewards for tips was removed and the Community Rewards Program was launched to reinvest Toronto Crime Stoppers efforts back into the community.

In 2023, the Community Signage Pilot, Organized Crime Retail, Project Winter Warm-Up and Soul On Ice and Level Up Hockey Camp programs were launched.

Last year, the program received six Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers and six Crime Stoppers International awards.

 

Group of 10 people standing together in front of Crime Stoppers backdrop
Awards were given to community members and organizations who stepped up to support the program Photo: Brent Smyth

 

Community partners who played an integral role in the success and recognition of the program were honoured with provincial and international awards at the media event.

Bolo Program General Manager Max Langlois was presented the Community Service Award, GardaWorld Vice-President Amir Atri and Regional Greater Toronto Area Director Jeff Poulin received the Marla Moon Memorial Award and Jonathan Shaw of 106.5 Element FM was the recipient of the Special Project and International Media Awards for ‘Crime Doesn’t Fly Here.’

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.

“Over the last four decades, our program had proven to be an integral piece of the puzzle in combatting criminal activity in Toronto and we have grown to 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,” said Toronto Crime Stoppers Chair Sean Sportun. “Our commitment to community safety with a focus on crime prevention is part of the foundation of what we do at Toronto Crime Stoppers. Being innovative, forward thinking and aware of community crime trend challenges continue to have an impact on tackling criminal activity in the city of Toronto.”

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.

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.

Contact Corporate Communications

416-808-7100
40 College St., Toronto, ON M5G 2J3
Location of the contact address on the map

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