Crime Stoppers 'tip' top
NWT tipsters cashing in on rewards pays off for North

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (NOV 06/96) - The NWT Crime Stoppers Association is the most improved chapter of the worldwide organization, beating out 1,100 other areas.

At a recent meeting in Mobile, Ala., Crime Stoppers International recognized Canada's North as a top-notch group.

The award was based on 1995-96 statistics showing a huge increase in the program's success.

In 1994, police seized just $5,000 in assets as a result of Crime Stopper tips.

For 1995, the Crime Stoppers board set a goal of $50,000 in seized assets. By the end of the year, however, the organization had received 95 tips, producing $135,000 in seized assets and charges against 19 people.

Seized assets include stolen property, drugs and cash that police recover as a result of Crime Stopper tips. Seized were $77,000 in drugs, $52,000 in property, and $6,000 in cash. Sgt. Tom Steggles, co-ordinator of the NWT program, says this jump

comes after an intensive public awareness campaign across the North.

"Making the public aware that they can call in without leaving their name with a chance of getting cash donations is important," he says. "Prior to that, many people weren't aware they could do this across the North."

The 1995 budget was $30,000, most of which went toward the public awareness campaign.

Steggles says the program increases the conviction rate for crime in the North. It also cuts down on the cost of investigating crimes.

"If you can get a Crime Stopper tip -- especially for serious crimes -- it frees resources for other investigations," he says.

Although most of the tips have resulted in charges against Yellowknife residents, crimes have been solved across the North since the program started in 1988.