November 24, 2016
Halton Crime Stoppers Honored by Crime Stoppers International with 3 Media Awards
For immediate release...
Halton Crime Stoppers has been honored by Crime Stoppers International with three media awards for coverage provided by community newspapers in the Metroland Media chain and CHCH television.
The awards in a competition between Crime Stoppers organizations worldwide in communities of between 300,000 to one million – were announced at the Crime Stoppers International annual conference held late September in Trinidad.
Reporter Kathy Yanchus of the Burlington Post was recognized for best special report or feature in the newspaper category for a January 6, 2015 article featuring Crime Stoppers Month and the adoption of drug enforcement as a key theme for the year.
Photographer Riziero Vertolli was also acknowledged for the photographs accompanying the article, including an image of Dr. Sangrit Sharma, a provincial coroner beside a poster showing drugs being exchanged for money.
There has been an upsurge in illegal drug use across the region ranging from marijuana, heroin and cocaine, but most recently Halton Region Police have encountered young people using Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain medication almost 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Dr. Sharma was quoted in the article which appeared in the Burlington Post and other Metroland newspapers across Halton as saying two-thirds of drug deaths in Ontario result from overdoses of prescription opioids.
The article also pointed out that drugs are at the heart of a great deal of crime in communities and that can have a devastating impact on numerous families.
The Oakville Beaver’s David Lea was lauded for the best public service announcement in the print category for his November 23, 2015 story detailing the launch of an awareness campaign with Halton Crime Stoppers and the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco to combat illegal cigarettes.
Photographer Graham Paine was also cited for images showing coalition spokesperson Gary Grant and the former chair of Halton Crime Stoppers Norm Bellefontaine displaying packages of contraband cigarettes beside one of the posters which appeared in bus shelters across the region.
Grant, a former Toronto Police Staff Superintendent, was quoted in Lea’s article, which appeared in various Metroland publications, as saying money from the illegal sale of cigarettes is a cash cow for criminal organizations and many contraband tobacco dealers are involved in human trafficking as well as the sale of guns and drugs.
CHCH-TV and producer Nick Olchowy were lauded in the television media category for the best crime of the week for an October 31, 2015 re-enactment which alerted residents of a scam where criminals were posing as representatives of the Canada Revenue Agency to swindle elderly victims.
The video warned that the scheme was widespread and Halton Police said a number of seniors had already been defrauded of thousands of dollars.
Paul Proteau, coordinator of Halton Crime Stoppers, said the media has always been recognized as a partner of Crime Stoppers and plays a vital role to alert the public about unsolved crime and efforts of the local crime solving organization to keep our region safe.
“The media does so much to help our program and it is great to see them honored at the international level,” he said. “It is a marvelous achievement considering there were entries from Crime Stoppers program in some 30 countries.”
Cal Millar, vice-chair of Halton Crime Stoppers, also praised the various media outlets across Halton for their support and described the awards as exceptional because they are selected by panels of independent judges who have expertise in the print and broadcast industry.
“It’s quite an accomplishment to get recognition at this level and a testament to the quality of the media we have here,” he said.
The awards will be officially presented at an upcoming meeting of the Police Services Board which will be attended by Halton Police Chief Stephen Tanner and representatives of the Halton Crime Stoppers program, including chair Doug Maybee.
It is also important to note that Crime Stoppers is a charitable organization run by a volunteer board of directors and anyone providing tips on unsolved crime to the program has a guarantee of anonymity.
For more information, contact:
905-825-4747 ext: 5118
Halton Crime Stoppers