In one of the most dangerous areas of Toronto, Mac's Convenience Stores and CrimeStoppers launched a new social media campaign to help police fight crime, announced at the Malvern Town Centre.
Imagine you're a criminal who's robbed a store. You decide that you want a pop and go into your local Mac's only to see your face staring back at you from the in-store media screen with information of your latest crime. With the launch of Crime Busters, a partnership between Crime Stoppers and Mac's, that could be playing out after today.
Criminals often target stores like Mac's to shoplift at or to commit robberies. From now on at Mac's if a crime happens those criminals pictures will be blasted out on Facebook and Twitter via @MacsCrimeBuster using the store's surveillance cameras and DVR units. Those images will also have the description of the suspects and their alleged crimes with an appeal to the public to call Crime Stoppers if they have any information to help solve the crime.
"We hope this forward-thinking approach to crime prevention will assist in the resolution of unsolved crimes," said Sean Sportun, Manager, Security & Loss Prevention, for Mac's in Central Canada in a press release.
Those images will not just be on social media outlets. Inside each store there will be notices at the front door and on their in-store media screens with images of suspects. When a suspect has been nabbed their picture will be replaced with a title "apprehended."
Constable Scott Mills spoke at this morning's event about the program. "My message is about crime prevention and solving is about success and safety."
Mills spoke about how wide spread Crime Stoppers is. Around the world the program helps police to prevent and solve crimes. Via social media today's event was watched around the world using UStream allowing key players and journalists to watch the proceedings.
Mills went on to explain one case that CrimeStoppers played a key role in. In January a man was murdered in a Malvern shopping centre, the same one that today's launch took place at. Mr. Thompson, a local barber, was killed with a shotgun blast.
"That is the violence we're out to prevent," Mills said in closing.
"We have the technology and we are going to use it," said Tom Moher, Mac’s Vice President of Operations in Central Canada in a press release. "By using social media we will reach a more diverse demographic in our effort to combat crime and enhance public safety."
When a person makes an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers they are eligible to a cash reward. Mac's will be covering the $200 reward on suspects recovered via Crime Stoppers in this program.
After the event Mills, who is the Crime Stoppers International Social Media Adviser, said via a phone interview, "Success and safety in the modern world needs to include social media partnerships and Mac's Convenience Stores are setting an example for the world on how to use Facebook, Twitter and Goggle +."
Mills also praised the efforts of Michael Gordan Gibson, the President of Crime Stoppers International. Gibson, located in the UK, "is paving the way for community, police and Social Media partnerships world wide."
Individuals who have any information that will assist investigators are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online or by text message. Crime Stoppers takes information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.