It all began in July of 1976, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A university student was killed during a gas station robbery and police couldn’t find the people responsible. After six weeks of investigation, they had made little progress in the case.
In a last-ditch effort, they aired a re-enactment of the crime on television and asked for the public’s help. It worked! An anonymous caller provided a tip that led police to the two killers. The total time between airing the tv ad and the arrest? Only 72 hours.
And so Crime Stoppers was born.
Crime Stoppers is not the police. Its purpose is to provide a trustworthy method for citizens to easily and anonymously provide information to assist the police, and other authorities, in solving and reducing crime.
There are now more than 1,700 Crime Stoppers programs worldwide in 32 countries. More than 425,000 crimes have been solved since the program’s inception and over $8 billion worth of stolen property and narcotics have been seized.
Here at home in Saskatchewan, there are five different chapters: Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, and rural Saskatchewan. Over the course of 2021, these groups received over 5,000 tips that led police to make 153 arrests and recover over $765,000 in property, cash, and drugs.
Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization and local chapters are part of an international group of volunteers established to help prevent and solve crimes.It holds a special spot in the heart of SaskTel, particularly among its employees.
At the organizational level, Greg Meister Vice President of Operations at SaskTel, and Amanda Keith, SaskTel Marketing Manager, are both active in the Association of Crime Stoppers programs of Saskatchewan and are past Presidents at the chapter level. We asked them what inspired their passion.
Amanda Halderman, Amanda Keith, Greg Meister
“We are fortunate to live in a country and province where we don’t have to constantly worry about our personal safety or the safety of our friends and family,” said Meister. “I want to keep it that way, and the best way I can personally contribute to our safe and free society is to support our police and justice systems in their fight against criminals.”
For Keith, Crime Stoppers was an opportunity to roll up her sleeves, pitch in, and make the world around us better. “As a parent with a young family, I was disturbed by the things I saw on the news every night,” she explained. “I wanted to contribute to a solution to make our communities safer for our children, family, friends, and neighbours.”
The President of Regina Crime Stoppers, where SaskTel has its corporate office, is none other than Amanda Halderman Director of Technology at SaskTel. When asked what prompted her to become so involved, she replied, “When I moved to Regina four years ago, I wanted to find a way to be involved and serve my new community. Crime Stoppers was the right fit.”
Halderman is especially proud of the past year’s achievements of her local chapter. “2021 was one of our strongest years,” said Halderman. “Tips received through our anonymous service led to 52 arrests, 154 charges laid, and 108 cases cleared in Regina. The greatest reward we receive is knowing our local Crime Stoppers program is making a real difference in public safety and quality of life.”
Meister attributes a portion of that success to the popularity of social media. “Our use of Facebook in the past three years has opened up the social media channels as a source of promoting unsolved crimes and prompting tipsters to forward us their information,” said Meister. “ Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers has almost 33,000 followers and we know they provide us with a consistent feed of tips that lead to solved cases.”
While there’s no denying the sense of satisfaction and pride that comes with keeping the streets and alleyways safe from crime, Meister wants to make sure the credit goes where it’s really due. “We ask the police to be good at a really hard job,” said Meister. “I hope our efforts make it just a little easier to charge the right person or get the criminals off the street faster.”
Remember, if you witness a crime, you can submit a tip anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or p3tips.com, a secure online link accessible through any Crime Stoppers website or Facebook page.
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