The provincial government is providing Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers with $200,000 to revive its Guns and Gangs tips campaign to encourage people with information that can help police fight ongoing gang violence to report anonymously.
“We know that a lot of people have information about the current gang violence but they’re afraid to report, so by providing Crime Stoppers with the opportunity we’re hopeful that they will report,” said Linda Annis, executive director of Crime Stoppers and Surrey city councillor.
“That money will be used to fund the production cost for our campaign,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of other corporate partners helping out as well.”
Annis said she wants to “strongly emphasize” that information given to Crime Stoppers is “totally” anonymous.
“If you ‘See Something, Say Something’. We only want your information so we can pass it to police, we do not want to know who you are,” she said. “With the current rise in gang crime, police need your information more than ever to keep us all safe. We’re pleased provincial funding has become available to increase awareness about providing anonymous tips at a time when we’re seeing gang violence on the rise.”
Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, responsible for federal investigative services and organized crime out of RCMP “E” Division headquarters in Surrey, said police are working around the clock in both overt and covert investigations “to hit these gangsters at every possible turn.
“That being said, we all have a role to play in combating gang and gun violence in our communities,” he added. “We know that there are people who may not being in a position to, or feel comfortable, providing information about gangs and guns directly to the police, yet these same people may have information that may be integral to combating gangs and violence, and taking guns off the streets of our communities.
McDonald said people who have knowledge of illegal guns, and information about gangsters, need to know “there is a way of providing information outside of speaking directly to police, which is why we wholeheartedly support the announcement being made here today by the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.”
Darlene Bennett, whose husband Paul Bennett was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity in the driveway of their home in Clayton Heights in June 2018, said no one deserves to die like this.
“Every time someone is killed needlessly by gang violence, we all lose something,” she said. “Families are destroyed, communities are shaken. These shootings are happening so random, so out of control, without any regard for the safety of everyone around. We all need to be part of the solution.”
She said she’s pleased Crime Stoppers will bring back its Guns and Gangs campaign. “This is action, and I thank you for it,” she said. “Every arrest, every gun seized, means the threat to an innocent life is reduced. If you have information that will help make an arrest, please call Crime Stoppers. You can do it anonymously. You can make a difference.”
You can make an anonymous tip though Crime Stoppers’ downloadable “P3” app for Apple and Android phones, calling Crime Stoppers at 1-855-448-8477 (new number) or 1-800-222-8477, online at solvecrime.ca, or by following the link on the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Facebook page. Find MVCS on Twitter: @solvecrime.
Crime Stoppers accepts tips in 115 languages and pays a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal, recovery of stolen property, seizure of illegal drugs or guns or denial of a fraudulent insurance claim. Tipsters stay anonymous by using code numbers to check back later and collect their rewards.