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A salute to crime fighters and that means you

Crime Stoppers month kicks off
crime stoppers flag
Mayor Lehman, Barrie Police Chief Kimberly Greenwood, Crime Stoppers SDM president Rick Dodd, police coordinator OPP Det. Const. Chris Lewis and other volunteers raised the Crime Stoppers flag at city hall. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

A flag raising ceremony was held at city hall today to mark Crime Stoppers month and salute a "banner" 2015.

The Mayor joined the newly appointed president of Crime Stoppers for Simcoe Dufferin Muskoka, Rick Dodd, Barrie Police Chief Kimberly Greenwood, along with the program's police coordinator OPP Det.Const. Chris Lewis and other volunteers.

"It means we want to get the word out about Crime Stoppers," said president Rick Dodd of the special month designation. "People should know that we are a non-profit organization and we are here to help everybody."

Last year, tips poured in and that means more people stepped up to fight crime. 

"It was a banner year," said Dodd.

In 2015, Crime Stoppers SDM received 2,035 new tips and 2,722 follow-up tips these being a combination of calls to the tip line, web tips and mobile tips. 

The tips helped the police clear 166 cases which resulted in 137 arrests and 520 charges being laid for a variety of offences including Criminal Code, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and Highway Traffic Act.  

Tipster information also helped police recover just over of $2.7 million worth of property and illicit drugs, up from $600,000 in 2014.

"Tips are up almost 200 percent over the year before. That doesn't mean that there's more crime. It means that the word is getting out," explains Dodd. "It makes everybody in three counties feel very good because they know that crimes are being solved, weapons, drugs, off the street."

Dodd says the organization is trying to beef up its volunteer presence in Barrie and is urging anyone interested in helping the program to give them a call or email.

The crime fighting organization has also increased the use of social media and credits the public, police partners and the program's police coordinator with making communities safer.