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Mid-Week Mugging: 'Catching bad guys and girls and solving crime'

Crime fighting team has a passion for making a difference
Crime Stoppers mugging
Crime Stoppers co-ordinator Const. Chris Lewis and Office Manager Angie Shiner are pictured beside the Crime Stoppers vehicle on May 9, 2017. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

Some of the faces behind the successful Crime Stoppers of Simcoe-Dufferin-Muskoka have come forward to get a mug and share their stories. 

OPP Const. Chris Lewis is a 30 year veteran who has spent the past three years with Crime Stoppers SDM.

"It's gratifying. We help the police a lot. We are very successful in Simcoe Dufferin Muskoka. We are the most successful Crime Stoppers program I think in Ontario," Lewis said. 

Tips to Crime Stoppers of Simcoe-Dufferin-Muskoka helped police clear 283 cases in 2016, earning $22,000 in rewards for tipsters.

The public's help led to 183 arrests and 397 charges for a variety of offences. The program received 1,801 new tips and 2,564 follow up tips.  Police recovered over $1.15 million worth of property and illicit drugs.

Social media plays a huge role, according to Lewis. 

"It's been like shooting fish in a barrel. The public is on social media. They see everything that is out there whether we put it out or somebody else does and we retweet it. That's brought the statistics threefold since I've been here.  It's the public calling in when they see it."

He also knows people in partner police agencies which has resulted in a 'good buy-in' from them.

Angie Shiner is the office manager who has many duties including fundraising efforts.

"That's how we operate. We are a non-profit organization and so we rely strictly on fundraising from events, from corporate sponsors and from donations."

Shiner helps coordinate six different fundraising committees for countless events including three main initiatives.

An upcoming event is Wine Not Give on May 18 at Chartwell Whispering Pines.  Tickets are $10 plus a bottle of wine for a chance to win everyone's bottle. 

The Crime Stoppers Simcoe-Dufferin-Muskoka Third Annual Golf Tournament fundraiser is coming up on May 27 at the Simoro Golf Links.  For more information visit Crime Stoppers Simcoe Dufferin Muskoka :: Home

Shiner started at Crime Stoppers SDM in January and has a background in advertising and promotions.

She wanted to get more involved with helping out the community. 

"I see the communities come together, mainly out of the goodness of their heart.  We see that a lot in our rewards.  People are calling in to help out their communities and they're not doing it for the money, solely.  They're doing it to help out."

Lewis is considered by many to be the driving force behind the local Crime Stopper's success.

He is modest about his role but is devoted to the crime fighting cause. 

"In the middle of the night if a tip comes and I think it's worthwhile I'll call somebody in the middle of the night.  We've had a few success stories like that."

The organization has extended its fentanyl project which is a guaranteed $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest or charges on somebody with possession for the purpose of trafficking or trafficking in fentanyl.

"We've had some success with it so the board extended it until the end of June," said Lewis. 

But none of those success stories can be told.  Crime Stoppers SDM has been described as the 'best kept secret' in the region and it has to be that way due to the anonymity that is so key.

Lewis is set to retire this summer but has relished his time with Crime Stoppers. 

"Because we're catching bad guys and girls and solving crime. That's what I like doing."