Crime Stoppers receives funds from SRD, and more could be on the way

Campbell River Crime Stoppers will get $500 from Quadra Island

Campbell River Crime Stoppers will get $500 from Quadra Island.

Jim Abram, regional district director for Area C, awarded the grant-in-aid following last month’s presentation from Crime Stoppers asking the Strathcona Regional District board for money.

Pat Patterson, Crime Stoppers coordinator, and Rob Harris, a Crime Stoppers director, asked the board in January to consider providing some seed money to expand the program within the regional district.

At the Feb. 11 board meeting, Abram said Crime Stoppers, following its presentation, asked for $10,000 from the Strathcona Regional District but the requests were split among the electoral area directors.

Area D Director Brenda Leigh confirmed she too received a grant-in-aid request from Crime Stoppers but said she’s waiting to weigh all of the requests.

“I simply hold that in my grant-in-aid application file until I’m ready to look at all of the applications and they will get a portion of the grant-in-aid funds however it gets distributed once all of the grant-in-aid applications are in,” Leigh said.

Director Larry Samson said while he commended Abram for providing the $500, he questioned whether it made sense to have each electoral area fund Crime Stoppers with its own grant-in-aid budgets.

“I think if it’s done on a regional basis – and it could be done on a per capita basis with smaller communities paying so much – rather than on an ad hoc basis, everybody chips in if they so desire and if you choose not to, then you’re still going to get a benefit,” Samson said.

“As we heard from Crime Stoppers (in January), they don’t go with the boundaries, because they go wherever they’re needed.”

Samson also pointed out that following Crime Stoppers’ presentation at the January 7 board meeting, the board of directors voted to defer Crime Stoppers’ funding request to the regional district’s 2015 budget planning discussions.

“Are we contravening that motion or is this going over and above?” Samson wanted to know.

Abram said the request for regional funding would still be discussed during budget deliberations but added that he thought it appropriate to provide the grant-in-aid.

Crime Stoppers is currently funded by the City of Campbell River and Patterson works out of the Campbell River RCMP detachment.

Patterson has said that since his salary is paid for by the city, the majority of his work is done within Campbell River.

Crime Stoppers is looking for additional funding from the regional district to go towards putting up signs in the smaller regional communities such as Gold River, Sayward, and Zeballos to make people aware of the organization, as well as to expand Facebook advertising and provide mail-outs to the communities.

Crime Stoppers would also like to get a tip fund going for other communities.

Currently, because funds for tips are all raised locally, tip money stays in Campbell River.

Patterson last month told the regional district that 2014 was the most successful year in Crime Stoppers’ 24-year history in Campbell River.

Crime Stoppers took 66 more calls in 2014 over 2013, increased its Facebook page views by 61,258 (25 per cent), received 66 more tips, helped provide information that led to 35 more arrests, and helped the RCMP clear 58 more cases than in the previous year.

Patterson said while it’s not a competition, year over year, the numbers for 2014 are an indication that people care about their community and are willing to get involved. Patterson also acknowledged the use of social media and the Internet, which provides Crime Stoppers with a broader reach.

When a body was found last summer in the Oyster River, photos posted by Crime Stoppers of the victim’s T-shirt generated valuable tips for police.

“The RCMP had the file for over 30 days, couldn’t I.D. who the person was,” Patterson said.

“Crime Stoppers posted the photo and within 22 hours we had a name.”

In another case, after human remains from Cortes Island were given to a Campbell River thrift store in a box, Crime Stoppers posted photos of the woman at the store and in less than 24 hours, Crime Stoppers received three tips with the name of the lady who brought the bones in.