A local team of volunteers is $500 closer to reducing crime in the Terrace area.
Terrace’s branch of Crime Stoppers, a group that collects confidential tips about criminal activity and passes them on to the police, received a $500 promise from city council last night to go toward its latest campaign and technology updates.
Terrace Crime Stoppers president Ian Nankervis told council June 11 that the local group needs to fund raise $5500 to tap into a confidential tip-by-text system, and is also fundraising to increase community awareness of crime and how to help stop it. The group’s initial ask was for $200, but councillors agreed to $500 off the bat and also to look at other ways the city might help with the group’s coming advertisement campaign.
“What we need is an injection of funds to enable us to catch up with technology,” said Nankervis to councillors about the text-tip system.
This system means the creation of a local text-only number. Tips received this way would be filtered through two encryption systems to keep their senders secret prior to being sent to local RCMP.
And if a text-tip results in an arrest, leading towards a cash reward of up to $2000, then a code would be sent back to the original phone number via text with information about how to pick up money from the bank.
The system, which would involve Prince Rupert Crime Stoppers as well, would take $1575 to get going and $4700 to run over the course of three years.
“We believe we should be able to garner sufficient funds to help us run for a few years,” said Nankervis.
He added that locally, the group has been falling behind not only technologically but with community engagement and that the local Crime Stoppers is focusing on turning that around.
Along with the text-tip system, two large signs have been printed for installation along the highway and are awaiting B.C. transportation ministry approval prior to installation.
Crime Stoppers is also approaching local business under a web-advertising program, looking for donations of $200.
City councillors agreed that the money was worth it, after some cautioning from councillor Bruce Bidgood about how quickly the city should agree to giving money when it is approached.
Bidgood first suggested that city staff look closely at what’s in the bank prior to agreeing to give money to any group, and consider it during the budget process.
But councillor Brian Downie noted that the group needs some money now, not later.
“Sometimes exceptions need to be made,” added councillor Stacey Tyers.
Councillor James Cordeiro agreed.
“They’re looking for $200 … we would at least be able to immediately give that I assume,” he said. “The request wasn’t for $10,000 or $15,000.”
“I don’t think it would hurt us,” added Christiansen.
In all, Crime Stoppers is a boost to RCMP services, which the city pays for, making a good value per dollar to the city, added Cordeiro.
He suggested council agree to $500 for starters, and other councillors agreed.
It was also agreed that the city would look into other ways to help out with advertising, like adding a Crime Stoppers link to its website or talking to contact about highway signs placement.