BAD : Don't Print in West Palm Beach
Live in a tough neighborhood? Get $500 from West Palm Beach police for reporting guns
Friday, June 19, 2009
WEST PALM BEACH — Live in a rough 'hood surrounded by gun-packing thugs? Quick cash is a phone call away.
Under a new program announced this morning, anyone who spots people packing heat in West Palm Beach can call Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers anonymously and could receive a $500 reward.
The West Palm Beach Police Department will cough up $500 each time such a phone call leads to recovery of the weapon and an arrest for unlawful firearm possession.
Police say the program, modeled after similar efforts in Miami and Orlando, is different from traditional gun buyback programs because it seeks to nail the gun-wielders themselves.
"Ours actually goes after the felon," West Palm Beach police Lt. David Bernhardt said. "When you see the thousands of dollars we spend on a criminal investigation, $500 is nothing."
The police department has set aside $5,000 for the program — enough to dole out 10 full rewards. Bernhardt said that if it is a success officials will find money to continue giving out payments for gun arrests even after the initial money is depleted.
"We hope this will help to alleviate the violent crime," he said.
Anyone who sees an armed person can anonymously call Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-8477 (TIPS).
Information leading to recovery of the gun and an arrest on a weapons charge will result in a $500 reward.