#SayItHere puts a spot­light on criminals

The Delhi News-Record - - NEWS - MONTE SONNENBERG

Thugs cow their com­mu­ni­ties into si­lence with threats of ret­ri­bu­tion against any­one who re­ports their crimes.

That tac­tic is not avail­able to them, how­ever, when their com­mu­nity learns to #SayItHere.

#SayItHere is the so­cial me­dia hash­tag Crime Stop­pers has adopted to teach mem­bers of the pub­lic how they can help solve a crime anony­mously and at no risk to them­selves. There might even be some pocket money in it for them.

Crime Stop­pers of Haldimand and Nor­folk is among the hun­dreds of crime-fight­ing chap­ters world-wide that have es­tab­lished a so­cial me­dia pres­ence.

Vis­i­tors to Crime Stop­pers on Twit­ter, Face­book and In­sta­gram are dis­cour­aged from di­vulging what they know at these sites. But the di­rec­tions are there to safely and con­fi­den­tially help law en­force­ment bring criminals and as­so­ci­ated scofflaws to jus­tice.

“They can’t re­port to us on so­cial me­dia be­cause we can’t guar­an­tee anonymity,” Neil Un­win, chair of the lo­cal Crime Stop­pers chap­ter, said at a flag- rais­ing event at Gover­nor Sim­coe Square on Mon­day.

“We’re not po­lice. We’re civil­ians who are here to help peo­ple who don’t want to con­tact po­lice.”

So­cial me­dia mavens who want to learn more about Crime Stop­pers can do so by click­ing on the #SayItHere hash­tag.

The lo­cal Crime Stop­pers chap­ter has hung out a shin­gle on Twit­ter at @ hn­crimestop­pers, on Face­book at Crime Stop­pers of Haldimand, Nor­folk, and at hn­crimestop­pers on In­sta­gram.

Jan­uary is tra­di­tion­ally cel­e­brated around the world as Crime Stop­pers month.

To that end, a num­ber of lo­cal dig­ni­taries and law en­force­ment of­fi­cials gath­ered in the sleet at Gover­nor Sim­coe Square for a flag-rais­ing event. Nor­folk Mayor Kristal Chopp weighed in with a letter sup­port­ing and en­cour­ag­ing Crime Stop­pers crime-fight­ing ef­forts.

“While Nor­folk is an ex­tremely safe place to live, work and play, I do en­cour­age any­one who wit­nesses a crime to take ad­van­tage of Crime Stop­pers’ ser­vice,” Chopp said in a letter to Un­win.

“On be­half of all the cit­i­zens of Nor­folk County, I’d like to thank Crime Stop­pers of Haldimand and Nor­folk for their tire­less work help­ing to solve crime and keep­ing us safe. Your ef­forts do not go un­no­ticed by the peo­ple you serve.”

Sta­tis­tics pro­vided by Crime Stop­pers of Haldimand and Nor­folk re­veal that the lo­cal chap­ter re­ceived more than one tip a day in 2018. Insp. Joe Varga, chief of the Nor­folk OPP, says this as­sis­tance is in­valu­able.

“It’s an­other level of com­mu­nity polic­ing for us,” Varga said. “It gives a voice to peo­ple who oth­er­wise might not come for­ward. They are highly val­ued. They open the en­tire com­mu­nity to be­ing our eyes and ears.”

A to­tal of 27 peo­ple were ar­rested in Haldimand and Nor­folk last year thanks to tips to Crime Stop­pers. A to­tal of 110 charges were laid.

Sta­tis­tics pro­vided by the lo­cal chap­ter say 504 tips were re­ceived last year and $ 4,300 al­lot­ted in re­ward money. The to­tal value of nar­cotics seized was $ 67,050 while the value of stolen prop­erty re­cov­ered came to $ 8,560.

Crime Stop­pers was pi­o­neered in New Mex­ico in 1976 and has since spread around the globe. The num­ber to dial lo­cally is 1-800-222-8477.

Call­ers to Crime Stop­pers who help solve a crime are el­i­gi­ble for a cash re­ward up to $2,000.

Call­ers to Crime Stop­pers do not iden­tify them­selves, do not speak to a po­lice of­fi­cer, and do not tes­tify in court. Crime Stop­pers does not sub­scribe to call dis­play.

MONTE SONNENBERG/ DELHI NEWS RECORD

Jan­uary is Crime Stop­pers month around the world. The oc­ca­sion in Nor­folk fea­tured a flag-rais­ing at Gover­nor Sim­coe Square on Mon­day. On hand for the event were, from left, Nor­folk OPP Staff Sgt. Jim Mill­son, Bev Hickey of Port Bur­well, sec­re­tary of Crime Stop­pers of Haldimand and Nor­folk, Delhi Coun. Mike Colum­bus, Insp. Joe Varga, chief of the Nor­folk OPP, Nor­folk OPP Staff Sgt. John Fash­ing, Richard Maude of Sim­coe, trea­surer of Crime Stop­pers of Haldimand and Nor­folk, and Neil Un­win of Sim­coe, chair of the lo­cal Crime Stop­pers chap­ter.

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