N.L. Crime Stoppers cancels ad campaign that provoked anger in St. John’s

Crime Stoppers has abruptly cancelled a heavily criticized awareness campaign in Newfoundland that included “anonymous” posters describing violent crimes.

The campaign was scheduled to run in the northeast Avalon region, including the city of St. John’s, with radio ads and monochrome posters describing crimes like robberies and assaults, all signed “anonymous” without further explanation.

Residents and business owners criticized the campaign on social media, saying they offered a misleading picture of downtown St. John’s, and many of the posters were torn down over the last week.

The city of St. John’s responded to criticism saying it gave permission for campaign posters in a heritage area but “did not approve the content,” and directed complaints to Crime Stoppers.

Newfoundland and Labrador Crime Stoppers issued a statement Tuesday defending “Project Anonymous,” saying it was meant to remind people of the anonymous reporting principle of the organization, rather than comment on community crime.

By Wednesday morning, however, Crime Stoppers announced it was pulling the plug on Project Anonymous, saying it did not predict the “negative messaging received.”

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