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Crime Stoppers tackling sex trafficking, NOTL councillor offers help with school programs

Organization has applied for grants that will support a program to teach more kids about the dangers and signs of human trafficking
On behalf of Crime Stoppers, Jason Snyder talked to NOTL councillors this week about the work it does to prevent human trafficking and other crimes.

Crime Stoppers of Niagara is hoping to increase fundraising and awareness about everything the organization does, and also to bring greater attention to a campaign designed to make young residents cautious about human trafficking.  

Jason Snyder, vice-chair of Crime Stoppers of Niagara’s board, delivered a presentation to Niagara-on-the-Lake council last Tuesday night, providing statistics of what the organization has accomplished in recent years, and asking for non-financial support.  Requests included the town exploring putting up signage to promote Crime Stoppers and providing information on the town’s website.  

A report will come back to council at a later date encompassing what was delivered in Snyder’s presentation, which also focused on a human trafficking awareness campaign.  

Snyder said he played a role in the campaign being launched as a result of a frightening incident involving his daughter. When she was 13 years old and walking home from school in Welland, she was approached by a man trying to coax her into his vehicle. “She was less scared than I was when she told me,” he said, adding she ended up hiding between parked cars to escape the man.  

This prompted him to contact her school’s principal, who explained that lessons surrounding “stranger danger” are only given to kindergarten students. “It became pretty obvious there’s a hole in our education system,” he said.  

Crime Stoppers of Niagara has applied for grants that will support a program to teach more kids about the dangers and signs of human trafficking. “We want older students to talk to younger students in classroom settings,” said Snyder.  

Coun. Maria Mavridis said there was an incident in Virgil recently involving children who “weren’t educated on how to handle a situation like this,” suggesting the town could assist Crime Stoppers with getting into local schools.

Mavridis told The Local a group of kids were in the Crossroads School playground over March break, when a man got out of a white van and walked toward them. They got onto their bikes and headed out, reaching home safely.

Coun. Wendy Cheropita said the town could help with scheduling events where Snyder could deliver a presentation. “I’m happy to do presentations like this for anyone who will listen,” said Snyder.  

In the last five years, Crime Stoppers of Niagara has received 10,429 tips that resulted in a reward, and has handed out $50,000 in rewards. The organization has assisted in 210 arrests across the region in that time, and played a role in 523 charges being laid.  

More than $1 million in drugs have been seized in five years through Crime Stoppers activity, and about $307,000 in cash has been recovered, said Snyder.  


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About the Author: Kris Dube, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Kris Dube covers civic issues in Niagara-on-the-Lake under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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