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Crime Stoppers working well, Toronto police say

A series of screenshots from Toronto Crime Stopper’s new app, which lets users send videos, photos and other anonymous tips.

Screengrabs/Google Play

Crime Stoppers works and proof is in the numbers, says Detective Darlene Ross, who co-ordinates the Toronto program.

In 2012, she told the launch of International Crime Stoppers Month at police headquarters Wednesday, a record 9,972 tips were received, resulting in the seizure of $8.6-million worth of drugs and $1.2-million in stolen property.

Among the crimes in which the anonymous information led to arrests were the brazen Eaton Centre murder in June; the mass Danzig Street shooting in July, which killed two people and injured 23; and a sexual-assault cold case that had lain dormant for 20 years.

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Worldwide, the dozens of Crime Stoppers groups are estimated to have helped police clear more than 200,000 cases.

The program is a conduit for people to anonymously supply police with information about crimes that have been or are going to be committed. Cash rewards of up to $2,000 are available if the tip leads to an arrest.

Retired police officer Gary Grant, who founded the Toronto program 29 years ago and is now its chair, said the organization has never been in better shape, with technology proving ever more useful.

In the beginning, tips usually came via a pay phone in the street. Now there are numerous ways to help.

After the special Toronto Crime Stoppers app was introduced in July, allowing tipsters to report crimes in real time via Smart phones and tablets, it was downloaded more than 14,000 times in the next week.

Also on hand for Wednesday's presentation were Police Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Police Services Board chair Alok Mukherjee, provincial Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Madeleine Meilleur and Lorne Simon, media director for Toronto Crime Stoppers.

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At The Globe and Mail since 1982, in assorted manifestations, chiefly crime reporter, foreign correspondent and member of the Editorial Board, Tim is now retired. More

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