Crime Stoppers of York Region recently held a press conference in Markham, to mark International Crime Stoppers month and announce the program this year will focus on combatting cargo thefts and related crimes.
The campaign – launched by York Regional Police, Crime Stoppers, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (Organized Crime Committee), and endorsed by the Ontario Trucking Association – features a crime prevention video and “door hanger” program, which highlight the impact of cargo crime on communities and encourages the public to share tips through Crime Stoppers. Information is shared with Crime Stoppers anonymously and can carry rewards of up to $2,000 if it leads to the arrest for a crime and/or recovery of stolen property.
The “door hangers” (a larger, poster version is pictured to the right) will be distributed throughout the local transportation community and at truckstops in York Region, the GTA and highway 401 corridor.
“Cargo crime costs all of us and puts well-being of truck drivers and other transportation workers at risk. These crimes are everyone’s responsibility as they affect everything from jobs to the price of merchandise on the shelves and are used to fund many other types of crime, including violent crime” said Paul Lasalle, Detective Sergeant, York Regional Police.
In 2010 the Canadian Trucking Alliance commissioned a groundbreaking report to gauge the scope, impact and trends of cargo crime. Recommendations from the report included increasing opportunities for stakeholders affected by cargo crime to exchange information, discuss issues and work together to develop effective crime prevention strategies.
In keeping with that goal, the OTA and CTA last year launched Project Momentum – an initiative to raise awareness and share mitigation strategies on the threat of cargo crime in the high-risk “hot spot” corridors along Highway 401. The inaugural workshop organized by the association last fall was a huge success and similar events are planned for 2014.
Another recommendation in the CTA “Study of Cargo Crime in Canada” included raising the profile of cargo crime with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, through the Organized Crime Committee. The announcement made by all the partners is one of the many steps towards increasing the profile of cargo crime.
“Criminals are drawn to cargo crime because it is low risk, high reward and there is a lack of attention paid to this issue. However, it’s anything but a victimless crime,” says Jennifer Fox, VP Trade and Security, CTA. “Thanks to efforts like this one from enforcement agencies like York Regional Police and Crime Stoppers, we can engage communities to help us put an end to cargo crime.”
Anyone with information related to cargo crime or stolen goods can contact Crime Stoppers’ 24-hour toll free hotline at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or report securely online at www.tipsubmit.com or text tips to 274637(CRIMES). Tipsters never have to give their names or have to appear in court. Calls emails and texts can never be traced back to you. Cash rewards are offered for information leading to arrests for a crime or recovery of property.