With today’s launch of January as Crime Stoppers Month – Crime Stoppers of Niagara is announcing three initiatives which will help maintain Niagara Region as one of the safest areas in Canada for residents to live, work and play.
Throughout 2022, Niagara’s Crime Stoppers program will target specific areas that have impacted the communities of the region for years.
Our first initiative will be a concerted effort to raise awareness of Human Trafficking – commonly known as Modern Day Slavery.
Secondly, Crime Stoppers of Niagara will produce posters to help combat retail theft or shoplifting.
And, our final project will highlight concerns related to Elder Abuse and help those who may become victims of various scams.
The criminal activity that Crime Stoppers of Niagara is targeting during 2022, ties in with the theme – Stop the Crime of Human Trafficking – which the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association selected to mark Crime Stoppers Month and also dovetails with the theme – Working Together to Keep Everyone Safe and Secure – that Niagara’s program chose to highlight Crime Stoppers Month in the region.
Crime Stoppers of Niagara is supporting the CCSA to make everyone aware that Human Trafficking is occurring in communities large and small across Canada and remind local residents that Niagara Region is not immune from this criminal activity.
We are producing an awareness pamphlet with indicators so people will recognize potential victims of Human Trafficking and know how to provide them with help.
The Crime Stoppers toll-free tip line is also available around the clock, 365 days a year, for people to call anonymously and report individuals responsible for luring victims into Human Trafficking situations.
The prime objective of the program’s Human Trafficking initiative will be in the areas of sexual exploitation, forced labour and child abuse.
Statistics show that Human Trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises and generates an estimated $150 billion a year for those involved. In Ontario, the majority of human trafficking cases involve sexual exploitation and the average age is
13 for those being lured and groomed by predators.
With two-thirds of Canada’s police-reported Human Trafficking cases occurring in Ontario, the provincial government is putting strategies in place to educate students of the risks they can face and provide assistance to those who have already been
Also, considering there are about 6,000 young people on any given night who don’t have a safe play to stay, you have to realize they are vulnerable to predators.
Our campaign against theft in retail establishments will have signs posted in stores to remind the public that shoplifting is a crime and Crime Stoppers wants information on anyone stealing from local businesses.
Although many people now consider shoplifting a petty crime, the Retail Council of Canada said businesses lose more than $5 billion annually through this type of theft. As a result, many store owners are struggling to make a profit and must raise prices to
cover losses and pay wages.
The Elder Abuse initiative is a continuation of a project launched in January 2020 and continues to this day with the publication of a newly-updated 42-page guide – Be Aware, Take Care – which provides valuable information to keep seniors safe and
aware of resources that are available to them.
Throughout 2022, Crime Stoppers of Niagara in partnership with the Niagara Elder Abuse Prevention Network will make presentations to senior centres, libraries, retirement homes, community groups and various other organizations to acquaint seniors and caregivers with information on various crimes being perpetrated on vulnerable individuals and steps that can be taken by senior to protect themselves.
Ernie Sibbett, the vice-chair of the Niagara Crime Stoppers program, was presented with an award by Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario in December 2020 for increasing awareness of elder abuse and working to protect and assist seniors living in Niagara
Dion McParland, chair of the Niagara Elder Abuse Prevention Network, nominated Sibbett for the award because of his dedication, passion and tenacity to improve the lives of those who are ageing.
“He has been a champion of the elderly and shown leadership,” McParland said. “He’s helped bring everyone together to make sure there were no gaps in services across Niagara.”
There are approximately 78,000 seniors in Niagara Region and some could become targets of abuse ranging from physical, sexual, mental, bullying and even scams from family members, caregivers, friends or strangers. Anyone who knows of a senior being victimized can call Crime Stoppers anonymously to report the incident and get help.
Going forward, Crime Stoppers of Niagara is hoping this project can be utilized as a catalyst that can be adopted by Crime Stoppers programs across Canada to protect seniors from being victims of Elder Abuse.
Niagara Police Chief Bryan MacCulloch is an ardent supporter of Niagara’s Crime Stoppers program. “For over 35 years, Crime Stoppers of Niagara has been a dedicated community partner that has played an integral role in supporting the Niagara Regional
Police Service in delivering various crime prevention initiatives that have achieved much success in our community,” the chief said.
“Through the delivery of programs aimed at protecting students, seniors, and the environment, Crime Stoppers of Niagara prevents individuals from being victimized and enhances the overall safety of our community,” Chief MacCulloch said. “The Crime Stoppers tip line allows members of the community to provide anonymous information about criminal activity taking place within the Niagara Region. Each year thousands of anonymous tips are forwarded to the Niagara Regional Police Service, which assists our officers in arresting individuals responsible for committing crimes, recovering stolen property, including the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit drugs and the proceeds of crime.”
Since the inception of Niagara’s Crime Stoppers program in September 1985, tips have resulted in the arrests of 2,257 individuals and clearing of more than 3,599 cases as well as the seizure of almost $40 million in illegal drugs and the recovery of $6.5 million
in stolen property.
In 2021, Niagara’s crime-solving program designed a full-colour promotional card for Fire Services in Niagara Region to remind residents that arson is a crime and worked in partnership with the Niagara Police Marine Unit to promote boating safety.
Although Niagara Crime Stoppers experienced fundraising difficulties because of COVID-19, the programs did host a musical tribute event which netted almost $4,800 and a golf tournament at the Lookout Point Country Club in Fonthill which raised
Crime Stoppers of Niagara relies on donations from the business community and individual citizens to promote the program and pay rewards to callers who provide the information that helps solve crime across the region.
Contact: Sara Stevens
Crime Stoppers of Niagara