CrimeStoppers is turning its attention to illegal firearms, now offering cash rewards for anonymous tips about gun-toting gang members and other criminals.
“Most law-abiding Canadians don’t have illegal guns. Criminals do,” says the press release from CrimeStoppers.
When a gang member or a criminal has a gun, a friend, relative, or somebody else usually knows it. They may be anyone – a parent or sibling, wife or husband, girlfriend or boyfriend, a gang associate, rival, or maybe even a server at a restaurant or club.
Often, these associates are innocent, but they don’t report these weapons to anyone out of fear.
Working together, CrimeStoppers and local police forces launched a major new campaign called “Cash for Guns,” with a goal to get 500 or more illegal weapons off the streets in the next year.
With this new program, CrimeStoppers wants to give friends, acquaintances and loved ones a way to help save lives.
“People may personally know individuals with these guns, but because they’re close, they may think it’s too risky to speak out and do something about it. We’re giving them the way to get past that,” said Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver CrimeStoppers.
“Violent crime involving illegal guns is increasing at an alarming rate, and for every person carrying one of these weapons, someone else has information that could lead police to seizing these guns. CrimeStoppers is offering them a safe way to do the right thing.”
The campaign’s message will be seen on more than 300 billboards, digital boards and bus shelters around the region. It will air in radio and TV spots, and will be featured during pre-show advertisements at local movie theatres. The ads will remind everyone that calling CrimeStoppers remains anonymous and they may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.
“The caller’s motivation doesn’t matter. All we want is the anonymous tip as to who has the guns, and how police might find how it might be found and seize them,” added Annis.
“We want the public to know they do have a safe and anonymous way to protect a loved one, protect themselves, or to prevent a violent crime. It might even be to report on a rival gang member, or just to get the cash reward. Whatever the motivation, this campaign’s sole purpose is get information that will get these guns off the streets and prevent anyone one else from getting shot.”
Cash for Guns is supported by local police forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police E Division, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – B.C., and the Canada Border Services Agency.