When Usaid Abdullah moved from Saudi Arabia to Canada, he was shocked to find out that teenagers committed suicide over things like bullying in school.
“I was shocked about hearing stories of teenage suicide and it made me really sad and I thought that I should do something about it and do my part,” said the 17-year-old, who was presented with the Student of the year Award at the 31st Crime Stoppers Chief of Police Gala on May 6. Crime Stoppers is a community organization that allows the public to submit anonymous tips to police at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.
Abdullah was nominated by School Resource Officer Constable Patrick Thompson, who has known the teenager for the last two years. He took note of Abdullah’s helpful attitude and the anti-bullying video the-then 15-year-old had made.
“He seems to have this impeccable way about him, where he seems to be helping others and he has that peaceful attitude. And we had a video contest and he made an anti-bullying video and it was unbelievable,” said Thompson, on why he nominated Abdullah.
According to Abdullah, he made the video when he realized how many of his own friends were bullied.
“I started researching about it and talking to my friends who were once victims on how they were dealing with it, and I discovered that they had given up and some were so depressed about it that they would talk about running away and hiding in a dark hole,” said the student, who attends George S. Henry Academy in North York.
In his video, Abdullah shows a person being continuously bullied – assaulted and robbed – until he contemplates suicide but, in the end, decides to stand up for himself and calls Crime Stoppers.
“I included Crime Stoppers because I think it’s a really great platform and usually bullied victims are afraid to step forward and complain about it, but since Crime Stoppers keeps tips anonymous, teenage bullied victims step forward and complain about it,” he explained.
Not only did the video do really well, it also helped Abdullah become the president of the anti-bullying club in his school, which was run by Constable Thompson. In the last two years, the two have become close and work together to help keep the school a safe and positive space for all.
“He is kind-of-like my best friend. If I have any problems I can go to him. If I need support or anything, he helps me,” said Abdullah, about the 33 Division School Resource Officer.
Thompson is happy to be that person for students at George S. Henry Academy.
“I have a very good relationship with these kids and …many kids have been in my office and talked about a lot of stuff. I’m like the older kid in school. They don’t look at me as an officer, some call me by my first name…and as a School Resource Officer I love it. They keep me young, I love kids and I get along with them really well,” said Thompson.
Other than Abdullah, a school and the Toronto Police Drug Squad were also presented with awards. The John Mungham School of the Year Award was given to Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute for the many programs they run in keeping the school a safe and positive environment and the Bill Hancox Award of Excellence was presented to the Toronto Police Drug Squad.
Each year, the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors select and present the Bill Hancox Award of Excellence. The award is presented to the Toronto Police Service unit or officer that best utilizes the Crime Stoppers program to solve crime through the investigation of tips and enhancing the safety and security of the city.
“The Drug Squad was selected for 2014, as a result of utilizing the tips from Crime Stoppers, including dozens of drug trafficking and clandestine laboratory investigations resulting in arrests and charges,” said Drug Squad Inspector Howie Page. “This program is extremely valuable to us and I hope we are able to continue to arrest drug traffickers and remove illicit drugs from the many communities and neighbourhoods within our great city.”
Acting Chief Mark Saunders said Crime Stoppers has proven results.
“In 2014, over 8,900 calls came in, resulting in 132 arrests, $400,000 worth of stolen merchandise and over $9.5 million worth of narcotics were seized of our streets,” he said. “In their 31-year history, we have arrested over 10,000 people because of Crime Stoppers.”
“We know Crime Stoppers works, that’s not the question, the question is how do we make it bigger and better. We do that by having people like you, the sponsors, and the people that are taking their time to come here. Such a great testament to the great city we live in. The fact that you are out here and you support this amazing program that helps keep our city safe, I can’t thank you enough for it. It is so meaningful and it so important and I am glad you recognize that importance, as do the men and women of Toronto Police Service,” he said.