Crime Stoppers Victoria (CSV) marked three decades of community crime-fighting success with its annual sponsors and supporters function at Government House last night.
Established in 1987, the not-for-profit community crime reporting service has played an integral role in making Victoria a safer place for 30 years.
Last night Crime Stoppers thanked its longstanding stakeholders for helping to make the Crime Stoppers program a success, including Victoria Police, Motorola Solutions, Nine Network, Herald Sun, 3AW and Sengled.
A number of individuals were also recognised for their outstanding commitment to Crime Stoppers’ mission – to keep the community safe – during the special anniversary event.
The awards were presented by the Governor of Victoria, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC.
Crime Stoppers also paid its respects to the late Mersina Halvagis, daughter of CSV’s dedicated ambassador George Halvagis, who was tragically murdered on this day 20 years ago.
Also a passionate advocate for victims of crime, George has spent more than a decade tirelessly supporting the work of Crime Stoppers in Mersina’s memory.
George said: “I do the work I do for my daughter. I promised myself I would never let Mersina’s name be forgotten. She was an angel when she was alive and she is an angel with wings now. She loved her family and she cared so much for people.
“Crime Stoppers provided so much help to me throughout my campaign to find my daughter’s killer and ever since I have dedicated myself to helping Crime Stoppers because I experienced for myself how it can help people.”
Channel 9 Local Executive Producer Nathan Tanti was awarded the Mersina Halvagis Award for his work in championing Crime Stoppers’ content in broadcast media.
Superintendent Darren Franks took home the 2016 S.I “Mick” Miller Award for his outstanding contribution as a Victoria Police member to the Crime Stoppers program.
Crime Stoppers Victoria was also delighted to welcome Mark Burke as the new Chair of the Board. Mark has served on the CSV Board as a Director since 2011 and is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of beyondblue.
Mark thanked outgoing Chair Sal Perna for his outstanding service and commitment to the CSV program during the last nine years.
Crime Stoppers Victoria CEO Erika Owens paid tribute to every Crime Stoppers supporter, in particular the community, that had enabled the charity to help make Victoria a safer place for 30 years.
“We know that information from the community is instrumental in solving crime,” she said. “It’s proven in the record-breaking number of arrests and charges made each year as a result of information provided to Crime Stoppers.
“A big thank you must go to every Victorian for trusting us with their information and working with us to make Victoria a safer place. We would not be able to achieve these results without the ongoing support of every sponsor, media partner, police member and community member.
“At Crime Stoppers we will enter our next phase with a renewed strategic direction that will focus on community engagement and crime prevention, as well as securing further revenues to ensure Crime Stoppers continues to be successful for another 30 years and beyond.”
Facts and figures confirm the program’s extraordinary – and still growing – success.
Information from the community to Crime Stoppers has led to thousands of crimes being solved – including more than 100 murders – and has assisted to secure justice for many Victorians.
Over 931,301 calls and online reports have been made to Crime Stoppers from the community since its inception in 1987 – subsequently resulting in 21,340 arrests and 85,051 charges laid across the state during that time.
It’s estimated that more than 50 percent of Victoria Police’s overall intelligence holdings now come through the Crime Stoppers Unit.
Founding Victoria Police media director, Geoff Wilkinson, described it as a “light bulb moment” when he saw Crime Stoppers in action for the first time in New York in 1985 during a Churchill Fellowship study tour.
“I had no doubt Crime Stoppers would be successful in Australia, given the necessary level of support from police, media and the community”, he said.
“But I wouldn’t have dared to hope – much less expect – that it would be so successful for so long.”
Help us keep your family & community safe. Making a report to Crime Stoppers is completely confidential, and as simple as calling 1800 333 000, visiting our website at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au or downloading our free smartphone app.Donate to crime stoppers