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2019 Crime Stoppers Month Launch and Toronto Crime Stoppers 35 Years and Strong

40 College St Toronto Ont.
January 3, 2019

Toronto Crime Stoppers continues to build partnerships to ensure crimes are being prevented and solved.

A man with cameras surrounding him
Crime Stoppers Chair Sean Sportun speaks to the media

Toronto Crime Stoppers has partnered with Global iFind to launch a safety app.

The Keep Your Community Safe app focuses on building safer communities by leveraging bluetooth technology that allows citizens to locate stolen high-value assets or missing persons and pets through their network.

“Their app will now offer citizens the opportunity to report anonymous information directly to Crime Stoppers within their mobile app,” said Sean Sportum, the chair of the Toronto Crime Stoppers Board at the launch to International Crime Stoppers Month at police headquarters on January 3.

With support from Cellflare, Toronto Crime Stoppers also unveiled its new  222tips.com website at the conference.

The Toronto Crime Stoppers program was launched in 1984, after then-Chief Jack Marks asked retired S/Supt. Gary Grant – a sergeant at the time – to start the initiative.

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.

Last year, Toronto Crime Stoppers launched several initiatives, including an awareness campaign to bring attention to human trafficking.

“This initiative, developed in partnership with DDB Canada and the Toronto Police Human Trafficking Enforcement Team, was extremely successful and has been shared across Canada,” said Sportum. “It received the Special Project Award from the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers and the Advertising & Design Club of Canada gold award.

“It was during the development of this human trafficking campaign that our Board contacted Uber to create a partnership that would mobilize the network of drivers to anonymously report suspicious activity such as human trafficking.”

We offer citizens to anonymously provide police with information about crime or potential crime without fear of retribution

Tips have resulted in the seizure of guns and other weapons as well as large quantities of illicit drugs, including opioids.

Crime Stoppers Toronto received 9,349 tips in 2018.

“These are tips that we look forward to receiving and investigating,” said Deputy Chief Peter Yuen. “Without such a program, people cannot be offered the availability of being anonymous and providing tips to our police service or any police agency to help to keep our community safe.”

The tips received last year led to 76 arrests, 234 charges and $137,225 in property seized. A total of $231,359 in drugs were also seized last year.

Since its inception 35 years ago, Toronto Police has received 156,218 tips resulting in 37,953 charges, $64,766,661 in property confiscated and $314,234,811 in drugs seized.

Det. Dimitrios Tsianos, the Crime Stoppers Toronto Coordinator, said the program has helped change the face of criminal activity in Toronto while helping build a safer city by partnering with community leaders, media and the Toronto Police Service.

“The success of our community program is based on our unique conduit,” he said. “We offer citizens to anonymously provide police with information about crime or potential crime without fear of retribution.”

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 34 years ago, has one of the largest programs in the world. There are close to 1,300 Crime Stoppers programs in nearly 20 countries.

The theme for Crime Stoppers in 2019 is ‘Say It Here”.

Dave Forrester, the president of Canadian Crime Stoppers, said the 87 programs received over 500,000 contacts from the public and over 200,000 of them were actionable tip that were assigned to law enforcement partners.

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), online at 222tips.com