The proof is in the numbers, when it comes to judging the Toronto Crime Stoppers program success.
Of the 8,790 anonymous tips received last year, 107 arrests were made and 439 charges laid. In addition, over $7.3 million worth of drugs were seized and $578,615 in property recovered.
Mayor John Tory, also a member of the Toronto Police Services Board, said the program is an essential to the work of the police and community to maintain a safe city.
“One of the most precious attributes of a city is that it’s safe,” said Tory, at this year’s Crime Stoppers Month launch at police headquarters on January 7. “That’s a lot because of the people and how they learn to live with each other. It's a lot about the excellence of our police service. But it is also because those two groups of people – the police and the public – have engaged with each other, not just day-to-day on the streets and in the parks and neighbourhoods and so on, but in terms of helping each other to do their job.”
As part of this year’s launch, attended by Market Lane Junior & Senior Public School Grade Four students, a special edition Captain Canuck Crime Stoppers comic book was unveiled and is available free at Mac’s Convenience stores across the province. The comic book special issue features the “Crime Stopper” character and information about the Crime Stoppers program.
Chief Mark Saunders said the program is one of the most successful when it comes to enhancing community safety.
“The key to this success is the fact that we have citizens who care and that’s what separates Toronto from so many other cities,” he said. “The program works when people call. If they don’t call, there is no success.”
Saunders also praised the media, saying they are the driving force in getting the message out.
In their quest for an investigative lead, police turn to the media and the public for help. Individuals are encouraged to leave anonymous tips at (416) 222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-222-TTIPS (8477), visit 222tips.com or by texting “TOR” and their messages to CRIMES (274637).
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.
In the last 32 years, Toronto Police has received 124,947 tips which have led to 10,839 arrests and 36,896 charges. A total of $63,779,707 worth of property has been recovered and $312,511,888 in drugs seized in that period.
There are close to 1,300 Crime Stoppers programs in nearly 20 countries.
Cash rewards of up to $2,000 are offered to individuals whose tips lead to an arrest.
Through tips, investigators arrested the parents of “Baby Angelica,” who was abandoned in a parking garage freezing stairwell in 2008, and three teenagers who beat a homeless woman on Yonge St. three years ago. The program also helped police make an $18 million drug seizure in 2011 and arrests in the deadly Eaton Centre and Danzig St. shootings.