The Richmond Police Department is trying an innovative approach to reduce violent crime. Because the policy targets people who are not allowed to own guns, it might have positive effects.
David Kennedy has shown that most murders are committed by a very small group of violent individuals, usually associated with gangs and/or drug trafficking. Identifying and focusing on those individuals has been shown to drastically reduce the murder rate. One of the methods used to do this is to encourage people to turn in violent felons who illegally possess firearms. Richmond Virginia has decided to run with this idea. From richmondgov.com:
From: Detective Rashaan Wigfall and Detective John FloresThis is an idea that may have positive results. I suspect that there are safeguards in place to prevent someone from gaming the system. Even though the system is anonymous, if a number of recently stolen guns starts turning up, and being recovered stashed in various out of the way spots, payouts may not be forth coming. $250 is likely a decent price for a stolen, beat up, single barrel shotgun, or .22 rifle.
Date of Release: 03/07/2016
This month Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers began a new program that will help reduce gun violence. This program is known as “The Gun250 Tip Program”. This initiative will help reduce gun violence by allowing law enforcement to use tips provided by you the public.
This program encourages members of the community to submit tips related to illegal firearms and provides a cash reward of up to $250 should the information lead to the recovery of the firearm or the arrest of an offender.
Gun250 is not a “buy-back” program. The program let’s concerned citizens know that they can easily provide information related to illegally-possessed guns, all while remaining completely anonymous. You will be given a unique tip number in order to protect your identity.
If you have information on an illegal gun you can call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 and reference Gun250. You can also text your information to “274637” using the keyword “Gun250” followed by your tip, or you can submit your tip online at http://www.780-1000.com
It is easy, safe, and completely anonymous.
We don’t have to know who you are to know who they are.
Most people believe that felons with a long, violent, record should be prohibited from possessing arms. This program offers a real means of pursuing that objective. So far, few people know about the program, but there are attempts to promote it. From wtvr.com:
Richmond Councilman Chis Hilbert said he believed the police department should be able to promote the program better than it is currently being promoted.This is not a gun "buy back". It is targeted at a specific group. There are dangers, of course, that people who are illegal possessors because of convictions from long ago, might be targeted. It seems unlikely that they would be caught up in this net. How would anyone know that they are prohibited possessors?
"Offering people $250 to call in tips about the illegal gun. If we can afford that, we can have money to promote this program," he said.
Hilbert said if it meant informational flyers had to come out of his budget, so be it. He also said he was willing to deliver the message to his Northside constituents, many of them have already reached out to him questioning the violent crime.
This will be an interesting program to watch, especially if it gets much exposure.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch