The organization, which worked with police from the Ottawa-Gatineau area through to Hawkesbury, Limoges, Embrun, and Casselman, received 4907 tips in 2020. Those tips led to 57 charges and 22 arrests. During 2019, Crime Stoppers received 3733 tips.
Crime Stoppers coordinator Constable Jackalyn Getz said the organization had not identified a particular reason for the increase in calls, but said it may have been due to people staying at home who were more aware of their surroundings. She said the cancellation of multiple public awareness raising events had made it difficult for Crime Stoppers to explain its operations to the wider public.
“Usually we take the opportunity to connect with the community by setting up information table tops to engage with people, but with the pandemic, we are not able to do this safely,” she said. “There were 57 charges and 22 arrests in the 2020 that may not have happened without the Crime Stoppers program. It works.”
Crime Stoppers, which is separate from the police, is an outlet for people to report crimes or incidents anonymously. The organization was designed to encourage those who would otherwise fear retaliation to report a crime without the need to provide their name or testify in court.
“Our call center does not subscribe to call display or call trace,” Constable Getz said. “The calls are not recorded, and the caller will never be asked any personal or identifying information. The tipster will never be asked to testify in court as the reward is not based on conviction, it’s based on arrest or charges laid.”
Rewards were offered to those who provided information that led to an arrest or charges. Constable Getz said the reward helped encourage members of the public who may not otherwise report an incident out of apathy. “Some people may see something in their neighborhood and think, ‘Someone else will report that, I don’t need to’,” she said. “The reward provides extra incentive for people to speak up.”
The National Capital Area Crime Stoppers, which entered its 36th year of operations in 2021, required donations from the public to operate. An annual golf fundraiser was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. During January, which was designated as Crime Stoppers Month, Constable Getz encouraged people to get in touch if they saw anything happening in their community.
Crime Stoppers could be reached at crimestoppers.ca or by calling 1800-222-8477.