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Crimestoppers seize drug award

Local volunteer organization teams with RCMP to lead B.C. communities in drug seizures in 2014

Campbell River’s Crimestoppers leave the seizing of illegal drugs and stolen property to the RCMP.

But the Crimestoppers made a seizure of their own when they confiscated the 2014 Milestone Award for illegal drugs during the annual B.C. Crimestoppers Society conference in Prince George.

“This is down to the hard work and dedication of the RCMP here,” local Crimestoppers coordinator Pat Patterson said Wednesday at the local RCMP detachment. “It shows the strong level of communication between Crimestoppers and the RCMP.”

Crimestoppers is an independent, all-volunteer, non-profit organization separate from the RCMP, but which partners with the police by providing tips — often supplied anonymously — from the public and other sources.

Utilizing those tips in support of its own investigative work, Campbell River RCMP seized drugs with a total street value of $167,000 last year, tops in all communities with a population from 20,000 to 50,000 residents.

“We blew everyone else away,” Patterson said.

One year earlier, Campbell River Crimestoppers won the Milestone Award for highest value of recovered property. Through its 25-year history in Campbell River, Crimestoppers tips have helped lead to the seizure or recovery of nearly $10 million in property and drugs.

“It couldn’t happen without the involvement of Crimestoppers and the input from the community,” RCMP Inspector Jeff Preston said. “We have a very good relationship with Crimestoppers; without their hard work, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Though stationed in Campbell River and funded partly by the City of Campbell River, the local Crimestoppers chapter has received tips from throughout North Vancouver Island and as far as Bella Coola and Powell River.

“Crime has no borders,” said Patterson. “We turn that information over to the local RCMP in those areas.”

Campbell River Crimestoppers also gets funding help through local events, including last Saturday’s Shredding Day at Strathcona Gardens. That event, which included a Kinsmen barbecue and kids games and snacks, raised nearly $2,000 to support its crime-fighting efforts.

“The value to us wasn’t just the money,” Crimestoppers president Rob Harris said of the event. “It was also in the exposure it gave us in the community.”