Toronto Crime Stoppers has partnered with advertising agency DDB Canada to produce a video warning individuals that ecstasy – also known as Molly – is dangerous for consumption.
The video campaign is in response to last summer’s tragedy at the Veld music festival at Downsview Park, where two people died and 13 became ill after ingesting substances.
“This is in response to the summer rave tragedy where two young adults lost their lives as a result of consuming an unknown narcotic pill they likely believed was ecstasy, which is an MDMA compound and goes by a number of street names, the most common being Molly,” said Detective Chris Scherk, the Crime Stoppers coordinator. “Molly isn’t made by a pharmaceutical company. It’s made in basements, garages and on the streets. We are hoping that this video will resonate with youths and adults. Truly, you don’t always know that what you are told is what you are given.”
Through the Crime Stoppers program, tips helped solve homicides, robberies, break-and-enters, severe child abuse cases and a previously unknown internet child-luring predator in the last year. All those tips remain anonymous.
Anyone with information about a crime that has occurred, or is about to occur, can contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637) or Leave A Tip on Facebook.
“We also ran awareness campaigns for cargo theft, continued our retail theft and Tattle Tails campaigns and launched media awareness events in regards to seniors distraction thefts and the abduction of Nicole Morin 30 years ago,” added Scherk. “Those events were well received by our media partners and the message was well carried via news outlets and social media.”
The Toronto Crime Stoppers program was launched in 1984, after then-Chief Jack Marks asked now-retired Staff Superintendent Gary Grant – a sergeant at the time – to start the initiative.
Grant, who is the program chair, attended the launch.
Since its inception, the Toronto Crime Stoppers Program has received 116,155 tips resulting in 10,725 arrests, 36,416 charges laid, $63,201,092 in property recovered and $305,182,103 of illegal narcotics seized.
“Crime Stoppers empowers the people of our city to take control over their safety and to reach out to authorities and report those who might be victimized or have their safety threatened,” said Chief Bill Blair. “This program has gone beyond merely being the recipient of anonymous tips. It has become quite proactive in its initiatives to go out into the community and – in partnership with different agencies – make a difference 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.
Toronto, which implemented the initiative 31 years ago, has one of the largest programs in the world. There are close to 1,300 Crime Stoppers programs in nearly 20 countries.