Toronto Crime Stoppers will no longer be giving out cash rewards for tips, but instead it will be re-investing the money back into the community.
The announcement of the re-branded strategy came Monday morning along with a revamped logo.
Prior to the announcement, anonymous tipsters were eligible to receive up to $2,000 for providing information that could lead to an arrest.
The new program, under the slogan “See it, Say it, Stop it,” will channel those funds into communities impacted by crime and violence instead.
Chair of Toronto Crime Stoppers Sean Sportun said the vast majority of tipsters weren’t actually claiming the cash, with only 17 per cent of tipsters having collected money over three years.
“We were sort of looking at that and re-inventing ourselves and also what we could do better in the community for the community to want to call us,” said Sportun.
Sportun added he believes people will still be calling in and providing those tips.
“If people see that Crime Stoppers is helping their community maybe they will be more inclined to say ‘well, I’m going to call Crime Stoppers now when I know something,'” said Sportun. “It’s crime prevention through community engagement where if you give back, the community is going to reciprocate.”
Sportun said the philosophy of Crime Stoppers will remain the same and every tipster will still be anonymous.
Mayor John Tory, who was present for the announcement, said he remains optimistic that people will continue to phone in tips.
“The fact that most people did not collect the rewards is evidence of the fact that people weren’t motivated by money, but were motivated in all those thousands of tips by trying to make their city safer and trying to catch the bad guys,” said Tory.
Some of the initiatives the funds will be used for include building new playgrounds and new spaces as well as after school programs.
The first project was re-vamping an after school program in the Glendower area of Scarborough called the Glendower Beyond Academics Homework Club
Cyleta Gibson-Sealey has run the program for years out of her own pocket and was overwhelmed when she saw the space, adding “the things I envisioned have become a reality.”
“I feel our community is cared for and our children and youth are cared about and its being shown. Its not just saying, oh we care about the communities, but its care in action,” said Gibson-Sealy.