THUNDER BAY – Crimebeat – In Thunder Bay one of the crimes that has focused public attention over the past year has been robberies of Mac’s Convenience Stores. Knock wood, but over the past month, due to increased patrols, and work by Mac’s those robberies have not been in the news. Mac’s states, “There is no surprise retail stores can be targets when it comes to shop theft or robbery incidents”.
With this in mind, Mac’s Convenience Stores in Central Canada have developed an innovative approach to combat crime by using social media giants Facebook and Twitter to help identify criminal suspects. Mac’s will use these social media outlets to blast their crime-fighting messages out to the community.
Here’s how it works: each Mac’s store is equipped with surveillance cameras and a digital video recording (DVR) unit. When an incident occurs, images of suspects from the DVR are turned over to the police. To assist the police in identifying these suspects, Mac’s will now proactively post these images of recent unsolved crimes on their Mac’s Crime Busters Facebook page and on Twitter @MacsCrimeBuster. The images will have a description of the suspect and alleged crime, followed by an appeal to the public to contact Crime Stoppers if they have any information that will assist the police in apprehending the suspect.
“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.
Mac’s stores will post notices at their entrances and on their in-store media screens (the largest digital network in Ontario), advising customers of their intention to use images of individuals alleged to have committed criminal acts on their property. Once a suspect is arrested, their image will be taken down and replaced with a title “apprehended.”
There is a program launch for this program in Toronto today in conjunction with Crime Stoppers. “Toronto Crime Stoppers is excited to be involved with the Mac’s Crime Busters initiative,” said Toronto Crime Stoppers Chair Gary Grant. “This program is another example of Crime Stoppers working with a credible corporate partner in a meaningful way, resulting in safer communities.”
Mac’s Convenience Stores, in a press statement says, “Mac’s has made crime prevention an integral part of their corporate responsibility, demonstrating their continued commitment to the overall safety of the community. With your help, Mac’s can enhance community safety by identifying individuals suspected of crimes against their stores and other retailers”.
“We have the technology and we are going to use it,” said Tom Moher, Mac’s Vice President of Operations in Central Canada. “By using social media we will reach a more diverse demographic in our effort to combat crime and enhance public safety.”
Working in partnership with law enforcement and Crime Stoppers, Mac’s goal is to:
- create awareness of retail crime
- identify individuals who are suspected of committing criminal acts against Mac’s by posting their images on Facebook & Twitter, with a description of their alleged crime
- provide the public with a conduit to report suspects anonymously through Crime Stoppers
- assist law enforcement in identifying offenders, especially those repeat offenders
- enhance the safety and security of our customers and employees.
Crime Stoppers is a partnership between the public, police and media that provides the community with a proactive program for citizens to assist the police anonymously in solving crimes, thereby contributing to an improved quality of life.
Individuals who have any information that will assist investigators are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). In Thunder Bay you can call (807) 623-8477 or visit the Thunder Bay District web site www.thunderbaydistrictcrimestoppers.com.
Crime Stoppers takes information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calls are not recorded and Crime Stoppers does not have call display, guaranteeing your identity remains anonymous. If your tip leads to an arrest, you are eligible to a cash reward. You will never be asked to identify yourself or testify in court.
Along with posting the surveillance images, Mac’s will also be covering the reward paid out by Crime Stoppers.
In the photograph: Thunder Bay District Crime Stoppers are appealing to the public to assist with identifying the male responsible for a Robbery at the Mac’s Convenience Store located at 1500 James Street South.
Thunder Bay Police received a call at 2:29 a.m. on Friday, March 2, 2012 for the employee at the store to report a robbery that had just occurred. A male entered the store with his ski jacket hood up and his face covered and demanded money, cigarettes and lottery tickets. The accused did not have a weapon at the time and the employee was not injured of the incident. The accused was able to make off with the various items he demanded and was last seen crossing James Street and heading westbound on Gore Street.
Police are looking for a male described as 6’0” tall with a medium build wearing a red, black and white very distinctive ski jacket. Crime Stoppers is hoping that the release of these images will assist the police in apprehending the person responsible for this crime.