The tips just keep rolling in for Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers, only how they get to the organization is changing rapidly.
Dave Bakker, outgoing co-ordinator for C-K Crime Stoppers, said the phone isn’t ringing as often these days, because online tips now make up about 60 per cent of their incoming information drops.
“The one trend we’re seeing in the office is that we’re seeing more and more people using the online tip process,” he said. “The number of phone calls is going down. But we still consider the online tips to be good tips just like calling in.”
People can use the Crime Stoppers app to make a tip and possibly earn as much as $2,000, or they can go to the website crime-stoppers.on.ca to click in a tip as well.
Bakker said the online tip process for C-K Crime Stoppers began in 2018. It quickly took off.
“We started to see an increase in online usage in 2019 and it’s grown steadily ever since,” he said. “It’s really effective. It has allowed people to submit tips whenever they want.”
Bakker added C-K Crime Stoppers folks can communicate back and forth with the anonymous tipster online as well, should there be additional questions.
Since its inception in 1987, C-K Crime Stoppers has seized nearly $104 million in drugs and recovered more than $10.5 million in stolen property.
More than 16,300 charges have been laid, 7,600 arrests made, and in excess of 11,200 cases have been cleared.
In 2021, C-K Crime Stoppers received 586 tips, resulting in 55 arrests, 145 charges, 109 cases cleared, nearly $73,000 in property recovered, and almost $286,000 in drugs seized.
Bakker said the dollar values of drugs seized is down from last year, but added there was a large-scale drug seizure at a greenhouse that bumped up the 2020 numbers.
“The 2021 numbers are pretty comparable to 2019,” he said. “However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact we can’t get into our communities to promote it, the numbers are down a bit.”
Bakker said the number of calls, arrests and cases cleared were pretty consistent in 2021 regardless.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the nature of the calls or online tips.
“The majority of tips we have to deal with are for drugs, and the next is still property crime,” Bakker said.
Crime Stoppers officials credit tipsters, the media, police and the work of the Crime Stoppers’ board for making the year the success it was.
As for what 2022 holds, Bakker is hopeful a return to the communities is on the horizon.
“Once we get through this pandemic, we can get back into the community to promote the program,” Bakker said. “Hopefully, we see the tips keep coming in.”