Crime Stoppers a remarkable resource for Toronto police

“They are the best detectives in town.”



That’s true of Toronto Police detectives in all units, but it’s not what former chief David Boothby meant.

No police officer or investigation can go forward without help from the public.

“Crime Stoppers is so vital,” said Boothby, who was chief from 1995-2000. “So many crimes are solved thanks to information from regular people who just want to help police and help their community.”

There were tangible examples of that at the 21st Annual Toronto Crime Stoppers Dinner on Wednesday night at the Liberty Grand — namely a table stacked with illegal guns taken off the street thanks to tips from the public.

“Every one that is taken off the street is one less that can hurt somebody,” said former chief Julian Fantino, who was the city’s top cop from 2000-2005.

The two former chiefs came to support current Chief Mark Saunders at this year’s dinner because they know the importance of Crime Stoppers.

The reminders of crime was not restricted to those guns on the table.

As we sat there for dinner, Saunders was updated on an incident along Warden Rd. in Scarborough in which occupants of two cars shot at each other.

There was also a young man who was charged after challenging people on social media to a gun fight for reward money.

Saunders, who was at the dinner with his young son, Graham, and his wife, Stacey, shook his head at the craziness of both of these instances.

“A lot of things happen in a big city like this,” said Saunders. “We need to stay on top of it.”

And get ahead of it.

Crime Stoppers can play a big role in that.

Saunders knows that even on a night when police come out to raise money for such an important program, crime does not stop.

“But it also has to be said this is one of the safest cities in the world,” he said. “For the size of it, we are very fortunate.”

Crime Stoppers is part of the reason.

It began in 1984 when then-chief Jack Marks and now-retired staff superintendent Gary Grant developed the program.

And there was Grant last night putting on a magnificent evening.

It was hosted by Z-103.5 morning man Scott Fox and featured amazing music by Genna Giampaolo and Billy Arthur. One word: Wow!

It was a light and fun night. But its importance was not lost on anybody.

“Toronto Crime Stoppers has been instrumental factor in keeping our city safer,” said Grant.

This is thanks to rewards of up to $1,000 for information to help police. All of the money used for rewards, reenactments and campaigns comes from this dinner and a summer golf tournament.

“We don’t get any money from government or taxpayers,” said Grant, who is the chairman and founder.

And they don’t rest on their laurels. Later this year, Crime Stoppers will be working with DDB Canada to create a public campaign “to seek information and raise public awareness about human trafficking.”

Thanks to Crime Stoppers, members of the public are detectives, too.

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