The non-profit Comox Valley Crime Stoppers program formed in 1989 but has never received financial support from the regional district or from local municipalities.
Yearly funding in the $16,000 to $17,000 range from the provincial gaming branch ended in 2010. Other sources of funding do not cover the society’s costs, which were less than $10,000 in the past fiscal period.
Crime Stoppers board members appealed Monday to Courtenay council for funding assistance. The organization is hoping to raise about $12,000 from local governments.
“The service Crime Stoppers provides is so invaluable you can’t put a dollar figure on it,” said Coun. Starr Winchester, noting assistance could be provided by a function within the CVRD.
“This is something the whole Valley benefits from,” Coun. Bill Anglin added.
Crime Stoppers has three primary purposes:
• Support police efforts to prevent and solve crimes by advertising campaigns and rewards;
• Encourage the public to volunteer information that might assist in solving crimes;
• Heighten public awareness of the level and nature of criminal activity in the community.
“We believe that community engagement, on behalf of the police, is extremely important,” CV Crime Stoppers vice-president Tom Gray said.
The retired inspector of the Comox Valley RCMP said drug trafficking and grow-ops have been the most common provided by the public.
In the past year, he said Crime Stoppers received tips about two habitual drunk drivers, both of whom were removed from the road. Other tips alerted police to recurring thefts of fuel and tools.
“These tips save police time,” said Gray, noting tips allow police to redirect efforts towards other forms of crime prevention.
Another tool that helps remove undesirables from the streets is the Most Wanted advertisements that appear in newspapers and online.
The municipality of Campbell River funds a civilian co-ordinator for 30 hours per week for the town’s Crime Stoppers program.
“That has proven beneficial,” said Stuart Hartman, president of CV Crime Stoppers.
He notes support from the media is one reason the organization is able to maintain a modest budget. Projected revenue for 2013/14 is $4,100 while expenses are expected to run $15,225.
An upcoming Crime Stoppers fundraiser is Breakfast with Santa, slated for 8 a.m. Nov. 23 at the Courtenay Legion.
• • •
Council approved a lease agreement for $1 per year for five years to allow the CV Citizens on Patrol Society (COPS) to continue using property at Bill Moore Park.
Over the years, COPS volunteers have put in hundreds of patrol hours, which assist the City and RCMP in crime prevention.
“It’s an incredible organization,” Mayor Larry Jangula said. “It’s phenomenal what they do for us.”