Crime Stoppers alive and well in Merritt

By on April 16, 2018
(From left) Merritt Crime Stoppers members Graham Whitecross, Tom Matthias, David Laird and RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore. Michael Potestio/Herald

 

by Dara Hill

According to Merritt RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore, the local Crime Stoppers chapter is paying off in the community.

“We had a fairly good year last year as far as Crime Stoppers and tips received,” she said.

The organization, which has operated in town for nearly a decade, receives crime tips via anonymous submissions from members of the public.

In Merritt, people can provide an anonymous crime tip by calling 1-800-222-8477. The tip is then passed along to Merritt RCMP.

If the information leads to an arrest, ends up helping to recover property or closes a case, tipsters can receive cash — usually between $100 and $2,000 depending on the quality of the information and the seriousness of the crime.

Dunsmore reported their chapter has received approximately 400 tips over the years, and has paid out roughly $5,000 total in rewards. Furthermore, approximately $50,000 worth of property, drugs and weapons has been recovered.

“I would say that’s a plus for Crime Stoppers,” she said.

Local chapter president Graham Whitecross recently received the president’s award for his years of dedication to the organization.

“I was deeply touched — I didn’t see it coming,” he said.

He told the Herald he believes the program is beneficial to the community.

“We feel it’s quite an asset to the town,” he said. “It’s one more step to help eliminate petty theft and crime here,” he said. “We encourage people to call in, and it’s being done more and more,” he said. “We certainly appreciate that.”

Dunsmore noted that the chapter is busy at work in the community.

“We do a lot of fundraising, putting signs up in the community, bringing in new programs. We’re working with First Nations communities to bring Crime Stoppers into those communities as well,” she said.

Whitecross noted Merritt’s Crime Stoppers chapter has a strong board of eleven members.

“We’ve got a full slide of directors — I believe for the first time,” he said.

“We’re always taking new members if anybody’s interested in being on the Crime Stoppers board,” Dunsmore added.

Whitecross noted the board recently had their annual general meeting, in which they began planning their big fundraiser for the year — a get-together later on in the summer.

Crime Stoppers is a non-profit group and the organization has to generate all the funds for the payouts themselves. Events such as these provide such funds.

“We’re hoping that the public will support us,” he said.

“Our whole group has got their heart and soul into the thing.”

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