As one of South Australia’s most successful and trusted not-for-profit charities, Crime Stoppers SA has launched a Go Fund Me page and called for community support to help fight country crime.
Crime Stoppers South Australia chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said this was the first time the crime-solving organisation had turned to a crowd funding solution to help fund one of its state-wide campaigns.
“We rely on and actively seek support from state government and the business community but tightening of our funding position has forced us to consider all avenues to raise funds – and we hope that South Australians recognise the value that comes with the Crime Stoppers program and are generous in their support,” Ms Hanlon said.
“We believe that a regional and rural campaign is of critical importance to every South Australian, whether they live or work in a country area or not. We know that regional and farming communities are already doing it tough and becoming a victim of crime or having crime occur in these tight-knit communities has a major impact on public confidence,” she said.
The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) says crime in rural areas is increasing, with farm crime rates at their highest in either highly accessible or very remote areas.
“Livestock theft across SA left farmers $1.2 million out of pocket in 2016/17. In addition, farms have experienced theft of farm machinery, equipment, vehicles, material, tools and spare parts – all of which are needed to stay operational. Adding to the concern, theft of produce, seed and grain– as well as deliberately lit bushfires – can bring farming communities to their knees,” Ms Hanlon said.
“Research shows that farmhouse burglary impacts 17% of all farms. Disturbingly, more than half of farm crime victims are normally affected more than once – reinforcing the urgent need for a targeted crime prevention, detection and reporting strategy to catch those responsible,” she said.
“Notably, patterns of offending suggest a high level of planning and organisation by a small group of repeat offenders who are probably responsible for a significant amount of the higher value losses in terms of livestock and farm equipment.”
According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, crime in rural areas is increasing, with rural and regional crime research indicating that crime rates are greatest in:
- highly accessible areas (close to regional or urban centres) where properties tend to experience theft of farm machinery, vehicles or tools, or burglary; or
- very remote areas, where properties experience the highest levels of livestock theft, illegal hunting and fishing, theft of materials, and illegal dumping of waste.
In line with broader community trends, rural Australia is also impacted by drugs. The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that rates of methamphetamine use were twice as high in remote or very remote areas compared to major cities.
“Thieves are becoming more organised, going to the effort and trouble of concealing their crime by dismantling and rehanging gates, having dogs debarked, and operating by moonlight in order to avoid the potential for being seen. There have even been reports of thieves stealing sheep for the value of their wool, and then returning a flock after shearing,” Ms Hanlon said.
“People wrongly assume that Crime Stoppers is part of the South Australia Police or already funded by State Government. That is not the case, which is why as an independent not-for-profit charity we need to do all we can to raise funds to cover operational costs and deliver award-winning crime solving and awareness campaigns. We also continue to self-fund our rewards program, with nearly $250,000 paid to members of the community for the information they have provided.”
The Go Fund Me target is $150,000, with 100% of all money received by Crime Stoppers to be directly spent on development and delivery of the campaign across country SA locations.
To make a donation, go to https://www.gofundme.com/crime-stoppers-sa
People can remain anonymous and rewards are available.
Program fast facts:
- Since the program began in SA, more than 32,500 crimes have been solved, and more than 21,000 people apprehended.
- While every second contact to Crime Stoppers is a drug-related matter, people provide information about a broad range of crimes and suspected criminal activity, including murder, arson, fraud, robbery and much more.
- An average of 25 crimes are solved every week as a direct result of information provided to Crime Stoppers.
- In South Australia, one apprehension is made for every seven calls received, and on average about 1780 calls and nearly 400 online reports are received every month.
- 2018 program results: more than 25,000 phone and web reports were received during the year, resulting in 822 apprehensions. In addition to 82 firearms seized during the year, information provided by the community stopped an estimated 80,035 cannabis and 12,227 amphetamine street deals in South Australia.
- An independent report commissioned by Crime Stoppers Australia in 2018 found that the program remains Australia’s most recognised and pre-eminent information reporting service, delivering a return of $11.15 in additional value for every dollar invested. The report also found that 82% of people feel safer knowing the program is in place, and 62% said Crime Stoppers made it more likely they would report information.