SA crime-fighting community campaigns win international award accolades
Posted on 08/12/2016
Innovative campaigns designed to engage the community and help solve some of South Australia’s most horrific and unsolved murders have emerged victorious at this year’s prestigious Crime Stoppers International awards announced in Trinidad.
The judges were particularly impressed at the ‘outside the box’ tactics used in Operation Persist – a campaign designed to encourage a renewed flow of information for investigators wanting to solve more than 113 unsolved homicides.
Crime Stoppers SA Chair, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said in addition to media articles, a static display in the Adelaide Railway Station had regularly reached an estimated 100,000 commuters, while direct engagement with prisoners highlighted rewards, immunity and reduction in time served opportunities.
“Flyers and letters were also distributed widely throughout the corrections system, and with the support of victims’ families, playing cards profiling the murders ensured ongoing awareness – with about 350 actions generated last year now providing investigators with a number of positive lines of enquiry,” Ms Hanlon said.
As an extension of Operation Persist, Crime Stoppers worked with media partner Channel 9 to develop a series of feature stories – including a TV documentary – to profile 32 of these unsolved murder cases.
“The judges recognised that component of the campaign as worthy of winning the Best Special Report/Features (communities with 1-3m people) category, especially given that Channel 9 elevated several of the profile stories to feature in its nightly news bulletins, and broadcast the documentary nationally on Gem,” Ms Hanlon said.
A special feature done by News Limited reporter Nigel Hunt on the discovery of the remains of Khandalyce Kiara Pearce in a discarded suitcase on a stretch of the Karoonda Highway won the Print Media Award (communities with 1-3m people).
“In the weeks that followed, Crime Stoppers SA experienced unprecedented community interest, receiving about 1500 calls from the public in relation to the case, greatly assisted by a number of in-depth feature articles in News Limited papers,” Ms Hanlon said.
“It was ultimately two critical calls to Crime Stoppers that provided key breakthroughs that led to the identification of the remains of the young girl and her mother, who had been missing for more than six years,” she said.
“These awards show that Australia – and in particular Crime Stoppers South Australia – punches well above its weight when it comes to innovative engagement tactics, and we remain very appreciate of the community’s support and our strong working partnership with SA Police to help bring criminals to justice and create a safer State for everyone.”
“Major Crime detectives believe Crime Stoppers plays a pivotal role in all homicide investigations, both old and new. Information received during the last 18 months has helped to solve cases and provided valuable information that has advanced other investigations,” says Officer in Charge, Major Crime Investigation Detective Superintendent Des Bray.