Mon | Oct 21, 2019

$65 million goal … Crime Stop hopes to raise much-needed funds in five years

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:37 AMNadine Wilson-Harris - Staff Reporter
Prudence Gentles, manager of Crime Stop.

Solving crime pays, but in order to ensure that they continue to fulfil this promise, Crime Stop Jamaica (CSJ) intends to raise $65 million over the next five years to help fund administrative costs and rewards.

With the help of its partners, more than $24 million has been paid out since 2010 under the initiative, which was launched 30 years ago. But a steady stream of funding is necessary to ensure its sustainability.

“For many years, we lived off an endowment fund that was created back in the early days, but with reducing interests rates, our reserves are really dwindling. So we have been appealing to the private sector,” CSJ chairperson Sandra Glasgow told editors and reporters on Thursday during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum.

Crime Stop was started by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) in 1989 and guarantees a safe, confidential and secure means of providing information that could help in solving crime. Several private companies have ensured its sustainability by providing cash or services free of cost over the years.

Apart from the PSOJ, Crime Stop is heavily reliant on the media, which promotes public messages and appeals, as well as the police. The organisation also receives funding from the Ministry of National Security and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission.

“We are right now on a drive to raise $65 million over the next five years. We had a breakfast meeting a few months ago and we will be having a fundraising banquet this weekend. We will continue that drive to get the private sector to help us, particularly for our operational expenses which are essentially our salaries for our managers and the rewards,” she said.

“We are on this drive and we need the support of individuals, of corporations to keep us financed.”

GET MORE INTO COMMUNITIES

Up to August this year, the organisation was able to pay out $13 million in rewards. Their TV show, CS311, costs a few million dollars each season, but sponsors have also been contributing to this effort. CSJ board members are currently exploring other avenues to expand their reach.

“We want to get more into communities. In fact, that is in our strategic plan, to have partnership with community-based organisations, so that we can get down to the young people, children, everybody,” Glasgow said.

Manager for CSJ, Prudence Gentles, assures that the organisation is there to stay.

“There will always be a place for a Crime Stop, no matter what happens, no matter how good the police are. There is always somebody out there who has a fear of going to the police,” she said.

Assistant Commissioner of Police McArthur Sutherland agrees.

“I don’t anticipate Crime Stop going out of business, even with a lowering of the crime rate, because we still need that channel, we still need that flow of information from all the avenues that are available,” he said.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com