June 21st, 2018

Crime Stoppers celebrates 35 years in Medicine Hat

By Peggy Revell on April 13, 2018.

This Oct. 5 edition of the News announced the official launch of the local Crime Stoppers organization that marks its 35th anniversary this year.--NEWS ARCHIVES


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Medicine Hat’s Crime Stoppers is celebrating 35 years of helping to keep the community safe.

“For evil to prevail, all a good man has to do is nothing” is the quote those with the local organization like to use, explained president and board chair Barry Gregory, extending a thank-you to past and present volunteers.

Since launching in 1983, the program has offered a way for community members to provide anonymous tips on criminal activity, and receive a reward if it leads to a conviction.

Digging into the Medicine Hat News archives, a 1983 story on the launch of the program included a statistic: For every $1 spent on the Crime Stoppers program, $17.09 in property is recovered by police.

“The purpose of the program is to act as an intermediary, using a reward system between the police department and persons who wish to give information … and who wish to remain anonymous,” Hugh Nerlien, chairman of the then 13-member board, told the News for the Oct. 5, 1983 story on the program’s start. Two years later, the News reported Crime Stoppers had led to about 95 arrests, 120 charges laid, and 105 cases cleared — and in a Dec. 7, 1985 News story, police said that out of 55 charges in juvenile court the preceding week, 28 were solved by Crime Stoppers.

City police chief Ray Palardy told the News in May, 1986 that the program saves police hours of investigation time.

“Probably every one of them would be cases we could not have solved on our own,” he said about the cases Crime Stoppers has helped with. “I wouldn’t say 100 per cent, but it’s close.”

At the program’s 10-year mark, Crime Stoppers had resulted in 834 criminal cases and the seizure of more than $1 million in property and drugs.

“Quite simply, without it a lot of crime would go unsolved,” Const. Bob Tetz told the News at the time. Two calls in the 1993 year had given police a lead in investigating vandalism at the Hillside Cemetery, where 59 headstones were damaged, Tetz said.

On the organization’s 35th anniversary, the MHPS appreciate work the organization does in the community, said Insp. Tim McGough. That Crime Stoppers has been around for so long, and exists all around the world shows the value it brings to the community, he said.

“It’s a bunch of dedicated volunteers that have made it successful over the years, and it’s led to numerous crimes in the community and surrounding area being solved as a result of information people have provided to Crime Stoppers,” he said.

While not all tips result in a reward, McGough said they help police get pointed in the right direction —especially when it comes to some unsolved crime.

“For people who do witness crimes, or do have information about a crime that they don’t feel comfortable talking to the police, and want to remain anonymous, this for sure is the way they can do that.”

The program is fueled through various fundraisers — in the past this has included a chuck-a-puck, jail-and-bail events, and private cash donations, said Gregory.

“We hope to have some new and refreshing fundraiser events to come in the future and look forward to our city supporting these efforts,” said Gregory, adding that donations are greatly appreciated.

Many of the volunteer board members, himself included, are new and learning the process involved with being a part of the organization, said Gregory.

“But we are proud to say, our members are very dedicated and excited to continue with this great cause.”

As well, they are looking for more volunteers to work with the team. For more information, people can visit their Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/mhcrimestoppers

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