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Social media playing vital role in catching criminals in Campbell River

Campbell River Crime Stoppers is helping catch criminals in ways like never before.

Pat Patterson, co-ordinator for Campbell River Crime Stoppers, told council Tuesday that last year was the organization’s most successful year and he largely attributed that to the use of social media.

“The biggest difference with Crime Stoppers in 2013 was the way we employed the use of social media to draw information from the public,” Patterson said. “The amount of tips that have gone up through the use of social media is just phenomenal. It’s an ever-increasing amount of tips that we get all the time.”

Patterson said the benefit in using Crime Stoppers’ website, Facebook page, and Twitter is that information about a crime can be put up instantly.

Anyone who has knowledge of a crime or potential crime can then anonymously report what they know to Campbell River Crime Stoppers without fear of reprisal. Information that leads to an arrest is eligible for a cash reward.

In 2013, Campbell River Crime Stoppers paid out $1,175 in rewards on five different tips.

Last year, the organization received 295 tips which resulted in 28 arrests made by RCMP and 44 cases were cleared from 43 charges laid.

More than $86,110 in illegal drugs were destroyed and $81,640 worth of property was recovered in Campbell River last year thanks to Crime Stoppers.

Patterson said last year brought an 84 per cent increase in the amount of tips coming in since 2007.

Patterson said that’s thanks in part to the use of social media.

Campbell River Crime Stoppers had 372 contacts with tipsters through social media, and had more than 265,000 page views on its website.

“We had a 247 per cent increase in 2013 for visits to the Campbell River website,” Patterson told council during a slideshow presentation. “The Facebook account alone brought in 216 tips and look at the views on the Facebook account (there were 253,004). Just phenomenal numbers.”

For the first time, Campbell River Crime Stoppers also used Twitter which generated 429 tweets.

Patterson said the organization will continue to employ the use of social media, which often generates quick responses from people who view the posts.

“From when I send it out on Facebook I’m getting calls on the tip line within nine minutes,” Patterson said. “The splash park (vandalism) incident, we had over 7,000 views on the Facebook account in a 24 hour period. These are huge numbers for getting the message out to the public.”

Patterson added that the organization’s success is in large part due to the fact the public has embraced the program.

“2013, ladies and gentlemen, was Campbell River Crime Stoppers’ most successful year in its 23 year history,” Patterson said. “On behalf of Crime Stoppers we’d like to thank the community for the work that’s been done. Without the help of the public, media and RCMP, the program would fail. We are pleased to say that the program is very strong here in our community.”

Quick Facts

  • Campbell River Crime Stoppers was formed October 1990 by community members.
  • Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards up to $2,000.
  • Campbell River Crime Stoppers serves the entire Strathcona Regional District and Regional District of Mount Waddington (Campbell River north to Port Hardy).
  • Theft was the most common crime solved by Crime Stoppers at 59 counts.
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