Crime Stoppers has been putting a dent in local crime for over three decades


Crime Stoppers has been in Ottawa for 33 years, but many people don’t know much about how it works.

The first Crime Stoppers program was started in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1976 following a fatal gas station robbery. Despite an intensive investigation, police had few leads to make an arrest. Investigators believed a re-enactment of the crime on television might lead to new information from the public.

They were right. Less than 72 hours after the re-enactment aired, the murder was solved.

Since coming to the National Capital Region in 1985, Crime Stoppers has been a valuable tool for solving crime in our community.  Here are some of last year’s numbers:

Number of tips 5359
Criminal charges   160
Criminal cases cleared     40
Value of recovered stolen property $70,000

How does it work?

Crime Stoppers is a community-based tips program that allows members of the public to anonymously help police solve crimes, identify suspects and get guns off our streets. The Crime Stoppers program guarantees the anonymity of the tipster. They do not subscribe to call display, will not record your call and you are not required to testify in court. If your information leads to an arrest or a charge, you could qualify for a cash reward of up to $2000.

In the National Capital area, the program is run by 27 dedicated volunteers and the rewards as well as the operations and promotional items are paid through fundraising and donations from the public. The longest serving volunteer is Jim Tugwell who has been volunteering with the program since 1995.

What happens when a tip is provided?

The tipster receives a unique tip number and password. This is kept confidential and not shared with anyone else.

The Crime Stoppers coordinator logs into a special program and sees the tip information that was provided.

The tip information is then forwarded to the appropriate police agency for investigation. That agency determines what happens with the tip information. For example, if there is enough to begin an investigation, successful ID of a suspect, make an arrest etc.

The agency, once done with their investigation, sends back a report to Crime Stoppers indicating the outcome.

If the tip information was used and leads to an arrest or charges, a reward is calculated by a pre-determined point value system. Reward amounts vary and depend on specifics to each case.

The tipster can either log on using their unique tip number and password to review and/or update their tip or they can call the 1-800 number to enquire of the status of their tip.

If they qualify for a reward, they are given specific information on how to collect the reward using a separate unique reward ID number. They are given a predetermined address where they can collect their reward using their unique reward ID number.

Interesting fact: Many tipsters never even collect their reward. It’s often not the money that motivates people to report, it’s the anonymity and helping police that motivates them.

And there you have it, an effective partnership between community and police in solving crime in our city.

If you have information about a crime, consider using the Crime Stoppers program today. Call 1-800-222-8477.

This information was provided courtesy of Ottawa Police Services.