Local crime fighting program wins provincial awards

The Nanaimo and District Crime Stoppers program picked up a record number of awards at the provincial Crime Stoppers conference this month.

The Nanaimo and District Crime Stoppers program picked up a record number of awards at the provincial Crime Stoppers conference this month.

The program bagged four awards at the annual training event – a milestone award for taking $520,380 in drugs off city streets, media awards for Shaw TV and Island Radio, and the president’s award recognizing leadership and outstanding commitment to Crime Stoppers went to Chuck Campbell, president of the Nanaimo program.

“This is a great way to showcase to the rest of the community how effective we are,” said Campbell. “From a board level, it shows that their hard work and dedication is appreciated.”

The awards are important for board members because it helps them stay committed to the organization, said Campbell. Provincial recognition also helps the program when it comes time for fundraising in the community, he added.

Campbell said a lot of the credit for the media awards goes to Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman and police coordinator for the Crime Stoppers program. This is the second year Shaw TV and Island Radio have picked up the media awards.

O’Brien approached Shaw and got the re-enactments going with the help of drama students at Vancouver Island University. Last year, eight were produced.

Before O’Brien became police coordinator, radio spots were sporadic, Campbell added. Now O’Brien gets spots on a regular basis.

“I’m always impressed with the work he does when it comes to the media,” he said. “We were just not able to move forward until Gary came on board.”

The milestone award – more than half a million dollars worth of drugs taken off the streets as a result of Crime Stoppers tips – shows how many people are phoning in or writing web tips, said O’Brien.

“A number of Crime Stoppers tips come in on grow ops,” he said. “Through our exposure, getting the community involved, our tips have increased 150 per cent over the past three years. Some programs never get accolades. We’ve gotten six in the last two years.”

The president’s award was largely due to the work Campbell put into organizing last year’s provincial training conference at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, said O’Brien.

“They raised the bar in terms of the level of professionalism shown at the conference,” he said. “He has great ideas and he’s a hands-on guy. Good leadership attracts good people.”

“I know from the last conference that we’re sort of the go-to board now,” added Campbell.