WELLINGTON COUNTY – Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW) successfully transitioned operations online and continued solving and preventing crime across the region during the difficult year just past.
“We had a great start to 2020,” CSGW coordinator Sarah Bowers-Peter told members of Wellington County Council in a virtual presentation during the Feb. 25 council meeting.
“However everything came to a screeching halt, like everywhere else in the world, in March,” she added.
Despite operating remotely since March 17, “We’ve not had a lapse in our in our tip management system, nor in our program awareness,” Bowers-Peter explained.
Although compelled to immediately cancel planned spring fundraisers and in-person presentations, Bowers-Peter said CSGW “wanted to make sure we were still reminding the public of our services and that we were indeed still open.”
The organization obtained Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) funding and also obtained funding through the United Way to cover costs of transitioning to virtual operations.
“This was crucial to keep our system running,” Bowers-Peter stated, noting the funds allowed for a transition to remote operation “as well as gearing up our online presentations because this is the new way of engaging with the community.”
She noted the organization will “continue to offer presentations to our school partners.
“However things are a little challenging right now and we’ve pretty much decided that it won’t be until fall of 2021 that we’ll be able to get into either virtual or in-person settings, depending on our circumstances.”
Bowers-Peter said the number of tips coming in remained steady despite pandemic restrictions through the first half of 2020.
CSGW directed 145 tips to Wellington County OPP from January through July of 2020, a number similar to the same period for the past four years.
CSGW’s Darren’s Day fundraiser, held on Family Day for the past two years in memory of Darren More, who died in an accident involving a drug-impaired driver in 2018, was cancelled for 2021.
However Bowers-Peter said Crime Stoppers is planning to launch The Darren Project, which will address impairment (drug and alcohol) in drivers.
“This is an interactive, in-person opportunity for young people to understand the impact of drugs and alcohol,” said Bowers-Peter.
The new initiative will be funded with a $10,000 donation from 100 Women Who Care Rural Wellington and proceeds from Darren’s Day events.
“We weren’t able to do Darren’s Day this year but there is interest to bring it back in 2022,” said Bowers-Peter.
CSGW is developing the concept with the Upper Grand District School Board and The Darren Project is expected to be launched “once in-person teaching stabilizes and guests are welcome.
“This is an exciting initiative and it has tremendous support from Darren’s family,” said Bowers-Peter.
Councillor David Anderson, who represents Wellington County on the local police services board, told Bowers-Peter, “We are so happy to have you at the helm of our Crime Stoppers because we’re showing positive results.
“Your progress and your work is making our county a lot safer.”