Crime Stoppers isn’t associated with any police force or government agency. But its ability to assist in capturing criminals through tips is stellar says John Baragar, an 80 year old director of the local agency.
Sarnia Police provide the 12 volunteers who man the tip lines with office space in the basement at police headquarters but beyond that the organization is constantly scrounging for money to provide cash for tips and keep the lights on says Baragar who has been a member of Sarnia Crime Stoppers since retiring here five years ago.
A businessman from Calgary, Baragar got interested in Crime Stoppers while working as a vice president for NAPA Auto Parts. He says he volunteered with Calgary Police and assisted in developing a Crime Stoppers Program.
Here Baragar says the Ontario Provincial Police used to provide an office person but not now. The local organization, which began in 1986 “struggles” to raise money to make ends meet he says and holds a golf tournament, virtual Jail and Bail and a bowling night to raise about $50,000.00 to cover office staff, administration and pay outs.
“We are coming up short and fighting for existence,” says Baragar adding, “We aren’t the non profit of choice because we don’t deal with children or social issues”.
“We raise money to catch bad guys which is important but doesn’t have the same emotional ring”.
Until 2007 Lambton County provided Crime Stoppers with $15,000.00 annually. Baragar says Crime Stoppers will be going back to the County for financial help.
The organization gets 60 to 70 tips per month and payouts range from $200.00 to $2000.00. However, those payouts are predicated on getting arrests and charges being laid.