Wanted Wednesday works. Just ask all those who have been arrested because of the weekly profile of those wanted by 55 Division.
Officers knew they were on to something when a total of 11 of the suspects profiled in the program’s first year were apprehended. A total of seven of the 11 suspects profiled so far this year have been arrested.
The Division’s crime management team conceived the program to help reel in individuals on outstanding warrants.
The profile is posted on Wednesday as a news release and pushed through Facebook, Twitter and the Crime Stoppers mobile application.
“The real benefit of it is the social media piece,” said Detective Sergeant Warren Wilson who, along with retired Constable Rob McDonald, was instrumental in the launch. “This started at about the same time our Service was embracing social media.”
The program was launched on September 12, 2012 with Steven Kanto who was wanted by 55 Division and the Hold-Up Squad for break-and-enter and larceny.
Shortly after his profile aired, his ex-wife in Ottawa contacted police saying she didn’t know he was wanted. She also provided them with information about his last known whereabouts.
Kanto, whose story was picked up by the Ottawa Sun, was arrested on October 18, 2012.
Wilson said that distributing the information on mainstream news outlets and through various social media platforms put pressure on those facing warrants to turn themselves in.
Just ask 30-year-old Vladimir Nikolic who was arrested by officers in 41 Division a few hours after his mug shot was posted on February 20, 2013.
Holden Keys, who was profiled in the sixth instalment, was wanted for 14 counts of theft. Less than 24 hours after he made the news, he walked into 55 Division and calmly told the officer at the front desk, “I am your Wanted Wednesday.”
Every Thursday, the Division’s crime management team meets for a few hours to choose a candidate for their list.
“A bunch of names are brought forward and we would normally go after violent criminals we would like to see taken off the streets,” said Wilson.
Last year, 38 of the 44 suspects profiled for offences ranging from theft and robbery to sexual assault and homicide were arrested.
“I want to extend my appreciation and gratitude to the residents of 55 Division and the media who are responsible for so much of the success of Wanted Wednesday’,” said Wilson. “This shows what our community, working together, can achieve.”
Wanted for three counts of assault, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and threatening death, James Hendy, 31, was arrested on February 18 a little over 24 hours after his image was posted on 55 Division’s Facebook.
“The post received just over 13,000 views with 570 shares,” said Acting Superintendent Greg Cole. “I personally received two phone calls to my direct line – one of them from a homicide officer whose source had called him – with information, including a specific address where the suspect could be found.”
The model is used by 11, 14 and 22 Divisions and other provincial law enforcement agencies.
This week’s “Wanted Wednesday” suspect is 45-year-old Charles Running of Ajax who is wanted for two counts of failing to comply with recognizance and criminal harassment.
He’s described as 6’ 3”, 180 lbs. with brown hair and green eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (416) 808-5500; Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).