Oct 5th, 2014 - Crime Stoppers program yields results with help from the public

As MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, I recently learned a lot about Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers.

I always knew that it was an important and successful crime prevention program, a way to help keep our community safe, but I was quite unaware of the actual methods it uses. I knew some people who report a crime to Crime Stoppers earn a monetary reward, but that most who call in are just concerned citizens.  However, I was worried, unnecessarily I now know, that if you phone or text or use the Web to report a crime, you might end up being victimized by the person or persons named when they find out it was you. I thought it was important to share these facts with you.

Our province’s Crime Stoppers programs were launched in November 1987, and they were an immediate success. Since the program’s inception, it has solved such serious crimes such as murder, sexual assault, fraud, arson, illegal smuggling and drug dealing. 

Anonymity is the very core of the program. You can report a crime without anybody, including Crime Stoppers, knowing who you are. Crime Stoppers definitely does not want to know your name, or address, or anything about you. They just want your information, which they call ‘tips,’ so nobody knows who it is, nobody. Here is how it works:

If you think you know of someone who has committed a crime, such as domestic violence, bullying, property damage, theft of a vehicle, robbery, violent attack, injuring, killing, or someone who is planning a crime, or you’re pretty sure that drugs are being sold from a nearby house, you should either phone, text or use the Internet to send this information to Crimes Stoppers. Even if your information proves to be wrong, no harm is done. Your tip will be investigated, and go no further. You have still performed your civic duty.

 I want to emphasize again the vital security of Crime Stoppers’ anonymity promise.  Everything sent to them, be it by telephone, text, or Internet, passes through 12 scramblers on its way to them. You are absolutely safe in reporting the crime.

Now let’s look at the three ways you can offer information to Crime Stoppers:

Telephone - call 1-800-222-8477, tell the operator what you know or suspect. To assist the investigators, keep your story clear and concise, including where, when, why, how and what. Answer any questions about your information. Do not give your name. If you accidentally do so, the operator will immediately tell you to report to your local police, and then hang up on you. 

 During your call, you will be given a ‘confidential tip number’ that you need to use if you call again to ask about any progress with the case, or to add more information. The onus is on you, the tipster, to re-contact Crime Stoppers if you wish, since they do not have your number, not having call display or caller ID. Keep your tip number confidential. You will never have to give your name to anyone or testify in court. You may also be eligible for a cash reward.

Text -Address your text message to number 274637. In the body of your text, type TIP202, then write your information. You will receive a confirmation text that your tip was received; along with your confidential tip code.

 Secure Web Tip - You can access the Crime Stoppers website at www.CrimeStoppers.ns.ca. There you will find a form to write your information to send.

 If your tip solves the case, once an arrest has been made and charges are laid, you may qualify for a cash award. The amount of the award, from $50 to $2,000, is determined by Crime Stoppers, based upon the seriousness of the crime, or other factors such as a cold case file. The method used to pay the reward seems to be taken right off a page from one of the spy novels that my Dad loves to read.         

Arrangements are made for you to meet a volunteer in a public place during daylight hours, such as a shopping mall. You are given a description of the person who is going to be paying you, including what distinguishing clothing will be being worn. You simply go up to him or her, say your confidential code number, and nothing more. You are immediately handed an envelope with the cash, no questions asked. You walk away, satisfied that you have done your civic duty. End of story.

Please, dear friends, if you know anything about some crime, help our wonderful Truro Police officers or the RCMP to solve it. The police are always saying, “We know someone out there knows something about this, but they won’t come forward.”  So contact Crime Stoppers, and help make our streets safer for our children, our friends, and our community.

Lenore Zann is the MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook- Salmon River. She is a member of the NDP party.