Crime Stoppers, a program that allows members of the public to report criminal activity anonymously, makes a difference when it comes to community safety, says Toronto Mayor John Tory.
"It works," Tory said at Toronto Police Service headquarters on College Street near Bay Street on Thursday.
"This is an important program that is just as important a part of community safety and maintaining community safety in Toronto as are other programs."
Tory said the program works because of citizens who use it to report crime, volunteers who raise money for its community reward program initiatives, and police officers who support it.
January is Crime Stoppers month. Officials spoke in Toronto to launch the month, talk about the program and draw attention to its statistics. The CN Tower will be illuminated in white and red lights on Thursday night to celebrate the program.
In 2022, Toronto Crime Stoppers collected 6,025 tips from the public, enabling police to seize more than $1 million worth of illegal drugs, arrest 200 people and lay 880 charges, according to a news release on Thursday.
Since its inception in 1984, the program has received 183,000 tips, allowing police to make 11,600 arrests, lay 40,000 charges and take $318.5 million worth of illegal drugs off the streets. Several tips helped the police to recover 89 illegal firearms and to solve seven homicides.
The news release says several tips helped police solve robberies, sexual assaults and human trafficking.
"Those are indications of a program that is successful," Tory said. "The results speak for themselves."
Toronto, a city that sees its share of crime, needs programs such as Crime Stoppers, Tory said. Once guns arrive in Toronto, for example, the program helps to get those guns off the street, Tory said.
"It is an integral part of making sure we can use every tool available to maintain a safe city here in the City of Toronto."
In January 2020, Toronto Crime Stoppers said it would no longer hand out financial rewards for tips that lead to arrests in local incidents. Instead, it said it would use those funds to invest in Toronto communities affected by crime and violence.
Lauren Pogue, acting Toronto deputy police chief who spoke at the event, said Crime Stoppers is a "valuable" partnership between the police, community and media that allows concerned members of the public to provide information about criminal activity anonymously.
"The theme for Crime Stoppers in 2023 is stand up stand together. We stand up and we stand together for safe communities in the fight against criminal activity," she said.