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Crime Stoppers tips were up 25% last year, leading to increase in arrests

Police Briefs: No major incidents to report over MLK weekend despite rise in calls

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2018 was a landmark year for Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers, which saw a significant increase in public tips, leading to more than double the number of arrests than the year prior.

In a release sent earlier this month, Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers reported a 25-per-cent jump in tips to the service, leading to a 114-per-cent rise in arrests and a 160-per-cent increase in charges laid that were attributable to information from the public.

The recovery of stolen property as a result of tips also went up, by 125 per cent—but the most remarkable statistic from last year was the whopping 2,600-per-cent jump in the amount of drugs seized. Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers president Jeff Cooke attributed that dramatic increase to a relatively small sample size the year before, along with a number of major busts over the past year.

“There’s been an increase in quantity (of seizures) but the incidents have been sizable for the most part,” he explained.

The organization has also ramped up its social-media activity in the past three years, not only posting more frequently, but also sharing “more relevant stories” that seemed to strike a chord with the public, Cooke said.

“With the way media is consumed these days, social media is such a huge (platform), and it allows people, when they see a story or an incident that’s important to them, to share it and reach a lot of people in a very quick period of time,” he noted.

Along with a higher volume of tips, the quality of information coming from the public has also improved, Cooke acknowledged.

“Through our social media and through just educating the public as to the kind of information we’re looking for, we’re finding that people are calling in sooner and giving more detail about incidents,” he said. “The tips we’re getting from the public are helping to put some meat on the bone and give the RCMP something to investigate that’s better than they can get from just canvassing the neighbourhood.”

Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers was the 2017 recipient of the Milestone Award, a provincial honour given to a Crime Stoppers organization with the most stolen property recovered in relation to its local population. That year, public tips helped lead to the recovery of $177,340 worth of stolen goods.

The organization is currently seeking volunteers to serve on its board. No background in policing is necessary.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community and do something with a pretty limited amount of time and effort,” Cooke said.

Those interested should email stscrimestoppers@gmail.com.

As always, anonymous tips can be left by phone or text to 1-800-222-8477, or online at solvecrime.ca.

RCMP sees rise in calls over MLK weekend, but no major incidents

Whistler RCMP saw an increase in calls for service over the American Martin Luther King holiday weekend, but no major incidents to report, confirmed police.

“Martin Luther King Weekend historically results in a large increase of visitors to the community with a corresponding increase in calls for service,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Hayes in a release, adding that this year was no different.

A popular weekend for young visitors from the U.S., it should come as no surprise that a large portion of the calls police dealt with were alcohol-related. In all, Mounties investigated 49 incidents between 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18 and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20, 20 more files than the previous weekend. Of those incidents, 13 were for causing a disturbance, seven for public intoxication, two for breaching the peace, and five for bylaw offences. A dozen individuals were arrested over the weekend “because they were intoxicated enough not to be able to care for themselves,” police said, compared to two arrests the previous weekend.

“We are reviewing the calls over the weekend, as we have in previous years, so that we can better understand where our risks are, and so we can adjust our response to these events in the future,” Hayes added.

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