South Africa's anti-crime SMS tip-off line celebrated its 1st birthday on Thursday, where plans to extend the successful campaign nationally were announced.
Addressing media and guests at the birthday celebration held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, Head of Primedia Crime Line Yusuf Abramjee said, "As we enter our second year, the idea is to spread the Crime Line message far and wide."
Primedia made several announcements that will see more South Africans participating in the campaign that has led to 471 arrests and the recovery of R21 million worth of stolen goods, since its launch in June 2007.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has teamed up with Crime Line, and the SMS tip-off line will be promoted extensively on the public broadcaster's radio and television stations.
It was also announced that Algoa FM in Port Elizabeth would be allocating R1 million worth of airtime to promote Crime Line over the next 12 months. Several community radio stations have also come on board.
The first group of 40 Crime Line ambassadors was unveiled to the media and community. The ambassadors have pledged to help spread the message of Crime Line across the country by telling people about the SMS line and website.
The group consists of prominent and influential South Africans including the likes of Bruce Fordyce, Ali Bacher, Baby Jake Matlala, Mark Fish, Claire Johnston, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Zindzi Mandela, Louise Carver, Gareth Cliff, John Vlismas, and Leon Schuster.
Crime Line also launched a road show initiative aimed at teaching high school children that 'Crime is Not Cool'. Allan Heyl, Crime Line ambassador and former member of the Stander Gang who spent 27 years in jail, will visit schools around Gauteng, taking anti-crime messages directly to the youth.
During Thursday evening's celebrations, 12 awards were handed out to members of the SAPS and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department for their outstanding contribution to the success of the campaign over the past year.
Abramjee thanked all those who had helped make the campaign a success in its first year, and urged more South Africans to engage with Crime Line.
"Our view is that whinging and whining will get you nowhere, we all need to participate in initiatives that can make a tangible contribution to a safer South Africa," says Abramjee.
Although the campaign has received several thousand SMSs, the tip-offs do not always contain adequate information that would allow the police to follow up. SMSs need to include specific information regarding exactly who, what, where, and how a crime is taking place, says Abramjee.
To blow the whistle on crime, SMS your anonymous tip-off to 32211 (at a cost of R1) or log onto the website www.crimeline.co.za
Source: South Africa: The Good News