Non-profit Crime Stoppers asking for donations after COVID-19 halts regular fundraisers

Click to play video: 'Keeping criminals in line: Non-profit Crime Stoppers seek cash ‘tips’ from public'
Keeping criminals in line: Non-profit Crime Stoppers seek cash ‘tips’ from public
WATCH ABOVE: Thanks to anonymous leads from the public, Crime Stoppers has created a powerful version of the "neighbourhood watch" in Edmonton — in the past three years alone, 15,000 tips led to more then 500 arrests. As Morgan Black reports, with the pandemic shuttering fundraising events, the non-profit organization is in search of a different kind of tip. – Jun 4, 2021

Crime Stoppers is an essential part of keeping the Edmonton area safe. Now, the organization is asking you for help to solve a problem brought on by COVID-19.

Crime Stoppers Association of Edmonton and Northern Alberta is a not-for-profit that’s been in Alberta for more than 35 years. It gathers anonymous tips from community members who don’t want to come forward to the police.

From garage break-ins to locating the subject of a Canada-wide warrant, Alberta chapter president Mark Holik said the group has helped crack many, many cases.

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“These tipsters know information, but they don’t feel comfortable approaching police. We give them that vehicle (to share). We allow them to give us the tips and we protect their anonymity.”

In the last three years, Crime Stoppers has taken in 15,000 tips that have led to 500 arrests and the seizure of $3.5 million worth of drugs, cash and stolen property.

Click to play video: 'Crime Stoppers seeking donations amid high rural Alberta crime rates'
Crime Stoppers seeking donations amid high rural Alberta crime rates

Funding troubles

Holik said he is glad that people see the organization as a partnership with law enforcement, but stressed that Crime Stoppers is not funded by the police or by the government.

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Private donations and businesses help the organization operate and provide rewards.

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“If you want to put your money somewhere that helps the community, there’s no better way of helping other than donating,” Holik said.

Before COVID-19, the organization would typically host fundraisers that provided a large portion of donations.

“We’re down to our last reserves. We need the public assistance to help keep fighting crime in Alberta — the big cities and rurally.”

Tackling urban and rural crime

For decades, Crime Stoppers has had a partnership helping law enforcement crack cases.

“The relationship we have with the RCMP and local police is integral, you can’t measure it any other way,” Holik said.

Edmonton Police Service Supt. Sean Anderson said “an essential part of policing in any community is the involvement of citizens in that community.”

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RCMP Inspt. Grant Smith said the anonymous aspect of the group helps those in tight-knit rural neighbourhoods feel comfortable stepping forward to share information.

“That information is pinnacle in how we do our work. If we don’t have the information, it doesn’t allow us to know what’s going on in our communities,” Smith said.

Click to play video: 'Wetaskiwin receiving 10 additional RCMP officers to manage high crime rate'
Wetaskiwin receiving 10 additional RCMP officers to manage high crime rate

“(Law enforcement) has reduced budgets, they have less boots on the street,” Holik said. “The best way to move forward is utilizing Crime Stoppers and providing tips to keep the community safe.”

People often do not know that a Crime Stoppers tip led to an arrest — but Holik said those within the organization see first-hand the impact the tips have on crime.

“Somebody that put a tip in about a fentanyl lab — that one tip may save countless lives. It is remarkable,” Holik said. “Each case varies in the degree of its impact … but they are all impactful.

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“We don’t know who you are. The information you give us is 100 per cent anonymous. The information you give us, we make sure nothing gives you up.”

You can make a donation to Crime Stoppers on its website.

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