Every two minutes throughout 2019, Crime Stoppers was contacted to share information about an array of unsolved crimes and suspicious activity, leading to an average of 100 apprehensions by police every week across the nation.
The organisation released its annual results on Wednesday 15 April which showed that by contacting Crime Stoppers in 2019, people directly contributed to a total of 18,686 charges being laid by police, which included arrests for murder, armed hold-ups, drug manufacturing and dealing, serious fraud and more.
Locally, the public provided Crime Stoppers ACT with 14,266 contacts from which police were able to extract 3,052 information reports.
Chair of Crime Stoppers ACT, Diana Forrester, was particularly pleased with the conversion rate and thanked the public for their assistance.
“We think that the reason there are more information reports is that online reporting tends to be more detailed,” she said. “Those information reports are processed by the police and actioned.”
Ms Forrester said this resulted in 32 arrests and 193 charges laid.
Overall, the number of people contacting Crime Stoppers ACT continues to increase. Ms Forrester said there were 2,030 more contacts in 2019 compared to 2018, and a 75% increase on contacts from 2017.
“I was pleased to see the consistent increase in reporting and the number of information reports that resulted from the contact because it means we are receiving quality information.”
She said Crime Stoppers want people to keep sharing what they know about all types of crime or suspicious activity.
“Every piece of information can make a real difference,” Ms Forrester said. “People don’t need to provide formal evidence of a crime or get involved in any court proceedings – they just need to know that if something doesn’t feel right or they only have a suspicion about something, then they can still share what they know without having to say who they are,” she said.
“People stepping up is more important than ever during the current pandemic, and we want everyone to be the eyes and ears of their community – whether that’s contacting us about a break-in on a local business, drug dealing nearby, robbery, property damage or more. We want information about all types of crimes and any suspicious activity.”
Reports of quarantine breaches
In terms of the current pandemic, Ms Forrester, who is also Chair of Crime Stoppers Australia, said nationally there has been a large increase in some jurisdictions with people reporting quarantine breaches. However, Crime Stoppers should not be the principal channel for these reports.
For all general enquiries, including to make a report of non-compliance of the public health directions with referrals to ACT Health Protection Services, ACT Policing or Access Canberra Fair Trading, the community can contact the COVID-19 Helpline on 6207 7244 (7 days a week 8am-8pm) or fill in an online form via accesscanberra.act.gov.au
In a media release dated Friday 17 April, ACT Policing: “Since Wednesday 8 April, 2020 ACT Policing has attended 164 call-outs for reported breaches of COVID-19 directions, while 140 calls have been made to ACT Policing following the set-up of the ACT Government’s COVID-19 helpline. To date, ACT Policing has received more than 600 reports of COVID-19 related incidents.”