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Local crime-solving efforts achieves trio of international awards for Crime Stoppers SA

Posted on 01/11/2018

Innovative crime-solving tactics and community safety initiatives have seen Crime Stoppers South Australia receive global accolades, after it was announced as the winner of three major categories in the prestigious 2018 Crime Stoppers International awards.

Crime Stoppers SA won the trio of awards for its efforts to help solve the cold case murder of Port Lincoln woman, Susan Goodwin, the unsolved murder of Martin Meffert, and a personal safety campaign for people enjoying the end-of-year party period.

Crime Stoppers SA chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said the award wins reinforce the very real contribution that the independent not-for-profit makes to the safety of South Australians, and its ability to develop and implement world-leading campaigns despite limited financial resources.

“Year on year our campaigns and community engagement activities continue to be recognised on the global stage. Our challenge is to now achieve similar recognition for our efforts on a local level and reinforce that the Crime Stoppers SA program needs financial support if it is to continue to make a real difference in solving crime and helping police keep a check on criminals,” she said.

“While discussions continue to try and address the fact that Crime Stoppers SA has never received financial support from State Government for its day-to-day operations or its rewards scheme, our hope is that South Australian businesses recognise the value we contribute and will get behind our efforts – which last year alone saw nearly 19,500 calls received from people wanting to share information, resulting in 911 apprehensions.”

The winning categories for Crime Stoppers SA were:

Best Specialised Program – Susan Goodwin murder investigation

The presumed murder and disappearance of Port Lincoln woman Susan Goodwin in 2002 remains unsolved. Police partnered with Crime Stoppers SA in May 2017 to develop Operation Lincoln to re-engage the regional community, encourage new leads into the mysterious disappearance and put pressure on those involved to come forward.

Highly-visible posters were distributed in public areas where she was last seen, promoting a $200,000 reward for information about her death or the recovery of her remains. Five patrol cars were turned into ‘mobile billboards’ to highlight the case, along with the distribution of coasters to local venues and during random breath testing and other routine traffic operations. A campaign launch attracted a large media contingent – achieving widespread media coverage across TV, radio, print and online.

As a result of information provided via Crime Stoppers, investigators are confident the killer still resides in Port Lincoln and believe Ms Goodwin’s body was disposed of within a 30km radius of the town. They now also believe that while her murder may not have been planned, there was more than one person involved, most likely in disposing of her body.

Perhaps the greatest breakthrough was the discounting of persons of interest from the investigation, which further narrows the number of persons being investigated.

Best Public Service Announcement – Festive season personal safety campaign

While the festive season is a typically a time when people enjoy increased socialisation within the community, it’s also a period which can lead to increased alcohol-fuelled violence, careless/reckless behaviour, risk taking and poor decision-making, which puts people in harm’s way.

As part of its ongoing community education and crime prevention activity, Crime Stoppers South Australia paired up with its major program partners – SA Police, 9 News Adelaide and Police Credit Union – to develop an online engagement campaign that integrated traditional media components of PR, media coverage and TV advertising. The multi-faceted campaign targeted a young demographic and used simple messaging across traditional and online mediums to engage more than 12,000 younger people.

Best Crime of the Week – Martin Meffert cold case murder

The murder of Martin Meffert had remained one of SA’s most bizarre unsolved cold cases. His partial remains were found in 2013, with a man and a woman allegedly stealing $136,000 from his bank account after his death. To encourage people to come forward with information, Crime Stoppers South Australia partnered with SA Police to develop a campaign to raise the profile of the investigation and renew calls for information.

A special poster and suite of digital assets were launched in September 2017, promoting a reward of up to $200,000 for anyone providing information leading to the apprehension and conviction of a person for Mr Meffert’s suspected murder, or for the recovery of his remains. As a key part of the media engagement strategy, Major Crime investigators conducted a fresh series of doorknocks and distributed the campaign posters within the local community. A media conference was also conducted, with the poster and materials on display and placed in highly-visible public locations.

A number of calls were received by Crime Stoppers, with a man subsequently charged with murder and now awaiting court. Crime Stoppers SA has previously been recognised for its innovative efforts to engage the community, winning three categories in the 2017 Crime Stoppers International media awards and two categories in the 2016 awards for its efforts to solve cold case murders and community safety campaigns.

About the CSI Awards

The Crime Stoppers International award program recognises leading individuals, programs, activities and campaigns from around the world for excellence and for their contribution to the achievement of the Crime Stoppers International vision – to help stop, solve and prevent crime globally. This year’s Award winners were announced at an Awards Presentation Ceremony, held in conjunction with the 2018 Crime Stoppers International Annual Conference at The Hague, Netherlands, in front of an international audience of Crime Stoppers delegates and distinguished guests.

 




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