Web reporting through NWT Crime Stoppers, the anonymous tip line used for community law enforcement, has not worked for several months, according to Inuvik's acting district commander.
Although the telephone and texting services are working, Sgt. Mark Bishop told council the Inuvik RCMP detachment wasn't getting a lot of information through those lines either.
"The website is currently not taking tips here in the Northwest Territories," said Bishop. "I've raised that issue to our headquarters. They're working on it, but the answer that they gave me is it's been down for a number of months now.
"From what I've seen in the past three months, there's not a lot of information coming in from Crime Stoppers."
Bishop was responding to an inquiry by Coun. Steve Baryluk during town council's Feb. 8 committee of the whole meeting, where Baryluk noted an advertising campaign several years prior had lead to an uptick in reports leading to charges against criminals within Inuvik, particularly drug traffickers.
Inuvik RCMP laid 26 charges in relation to drug trafficking in 2020.
He pondered if a new round of public awareness campaigning would help remind people of the ability to report on crime without having one's name attached.
"We did posts on the town's Facebook page, we had paper copies put up on some of the bulletin boards, it was a big push for a couple of months," said Baryluk. "From the reports we got after that, there was a significant enough increase in information flow coming in that it led to some charges being laid against people."
Baryluk added any information campaign needed to make it clear to tipsters how the service worked, as his own household had made use of the phone line earlier in the year and it connected them to a dispatch in British Columbia.
"There was a bit of confusion as to where the number sent us to," he said.
Bishop said he was in support of the idea, but noted the lack of a working web-reporting tool was a hindrance, as that would likely be the most frequently used service.
"I think would be great to have another blitz pushing Crime Stoppers," said Bishop. "I'm trying to put pressure on them to fix it, because obviously in this day and age the website is how a lot of people would pass their information."
Crime Stoppers is an independent, volunteer-run organization maintained by the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association. A spokesperson for the NWT-Nunuvut branch of Crime Stoppers, Peter Curran, told Inuvik Drum the organization was no long afiliated with the nwtnutips.com blog and was in the process of securing funds for a new website.
He added the organization ran completely on donations and fundraising.
Anonymous tips can still be submitted to Crime Stoppers by phoning 1-800-222-8477 or texting “nwtnutips” plus your message to 274637.