(courtesy richmondgov.com)

Criminal justice professor and co-chair of the National Network for Safe Communities 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 law enforcement efforts on those individuals drastically reduces the murder rate of a given area. One of the methods used: 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 Flores

Number: 16-10
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.

“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 is not a gun “buy back.”  It’s a program targeted at a specific group. It remains to be seen if $250 can combat a culture where the phrase “snitches get stitches” holds sway.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

69 Responses to Richmond PD: $250 for Anonymous Tips on Illegally Possessed Guns

  1. The only thing I could see coming from this is criminals dropping dimes on each other for a quick score and some police administered revenge. Not that it would be an entirely bad thing, just an observation.

    • You’re right of course. One incarcerated felon who got ratted out by another felon is still a net reduction of one less thug on the street.

    • Yep. Plus, it’s open to abuse by these gun grabber criminals who want to terrorize law-abiding gun owners like they have tried with illegal SWATting attacks.

      Stop and frisk made NYC a lot safer, but the leftist parasites killed that…and many New Yorkers since.

      Unfortunately, the savages causing all the gun crime don’t obey the law, so even honest gun banners want to ban all guns.

      • Stop and frisk was a direct violation of the 4A. You can’t support one while advocating disregard of the others.

        First it’s illegal searches of you when your in public. Next they’re breaking into your house without a warrant. It’s a slippery slope. I’m glad it was stopped before it got worse, regardless of why it was stopped.

        • And along those same lines, please show me where in the Second Amendment it authorizes ANYONE, much less the government, to declare a gun illegal or to decide an individual may not legally posses arms (guns).

          You can’t do it because it is not there. You support all of the Bill of Rights, all the way, or you don’t support any at all. You cannot pick and choose.

        • Agree. And that includes any and all weapons of war that can be used by the government to suppress the public. Because if there are any “common sense” exclusions, then “common sense” is merely somebody’s opinion, either side.

        • Wait a minute – what is wrong with an illegal gun? Shouldn’t we focus on the acts of the individual? Not some object they possess? Lol

        • It does not say anything in the 2nd about illegal weapons, but the 5th does explicitly say you can be deprived of liberty if given due process. That is how felons are prohibited persons and it is explicitly constitutional as being classified as a felon means you’ve been through that due process. I may not agree that particular felons (i.e. the non-violent type) should not be allowed to posses weapons, but the constitution does allow for it.

    • That pesky neighbor… got into another argument again? GUN$250 cuz its anonymous and he owns guns right? One can never be too careful. After all, its for the children. Yeah…. This won’t be abused a AT ALL but antis and agitators….

  2. Now we know what their value is on a human life. Retaliation is real. Everybody knows who done it, but ain nobody gonna say who done it.

    I bet all the mommies against guns are going to be all over this one

    • Calling the number every time they see an NRA hat or slight bulge on a passing waistline will be a very quick and effective way to get the hotline shutdown permanently.

      • I work in that General area (not Richmond city but nearby) and our dispatch doesn’t even send us when people call about lawful open carriers. I imagine RPD is the same way, and would not do anything besides hit delete on those tips about lawful citizens.

  3. “Know someone with an illegal gun” should read “Know a felon in possession of a gun”. Its the felon thats doing something illegal and not the gun…..it just reads anti gun to me

  4. Now this is a move in the right direction for you all. Wish I had been behind it. Wish my side had been behind it. Maybe there’s still time to for us to circulate it and take credit for a common sense approach to taking guns away from those who refuse to obey the law.

    • Civil disobedience is a proud tradition in our nation. Be careful what you wish for – not all laws are necessarily to be blindly obeyed. If the only effect of laws like this are to remove actual, violent felons from the streets, great. But like any law, these laws can easily be abused.

    • While I encourage communities working with their local law enforcement the reality of a program like this is that it will likely do little good in the places it is needed most for two reasons. First, a very real and justified fear of retaliation already keeps people from reporting crimes. Providing another way to “snitch” without changing the underlying culture of fear and mistrust is just another system paid for with tax dollars that will be ignored. Second, unless the laws on the books are actually prosecuted why waste the police effort pretending to enforce them?

      I am curious how a text message filters through the 4th amendment. I find it hard to believe a simple text message would meet the standard of probable cause. Mere suspicion certainly. Maybe even reasonable suspicion in the right circumstances. Unless the officer is on site at the time it is reported I fail to see how tips from this system would be of value. If they were you would either still need a search warrant for their home/car, or hoping a judge will see the terry stop as justified if it is just a person in public. Just wait until some MDA uses this as a lower key way to swat some attorney who’s blackberry is printing out under his blazer. I hope they sit all of their officers down and give them a refresher course on their applied authority curriculum to prepare them for this.

    • “Maybe there’s still time to for us to circulate it and take credit for…..”

      That’s the most honest thing I’ve seen you write.

  5. do you actually have to know and get rewarded after or before, because you could just report government officials you hate and get a boatload of $250 checks

  6. Hasn’t LA had a “turn in your neighbor” program for people to turn in folks who own now-illegal “assault weapons” for several years now?

    I’m conflicted about these bounty schemes. I’d like to know the number of actual criminals being removed from the streets, compared with people who have been “swatted” for a quick buck and a bit of revenge. As a group, we have generally decried the lack of due process applied in the new weapons-forfeiture laws for citizens reported under suspicion of mental illness – this type of law could be abused as well, although any criminal charges brought for illegal possession would have due process applied.

    The far-reaching consequence of this is when entire classes of weapons are banned under malem prohibitum laws. If your state suddenly bans your collection of AR-15s and you decide, like about 90% of the other citizens in your state, to not turn them in – do you really want the general populace trained to eagerly turn you in for $250? I think in the long term, these programs have the potential to do far more harm than good.

    • The quick buck only comes if there’s an illegal gun recovered or an arrest. If either of those happens, then it probably wasn’t a frivolous or malicious tip to begin with. So that removes the money motivation linkage to false reports and leaves the revenge motive.

      Someone with a revenge motive can already pick up the phone and file a false report against their enemy. That doesn’t change with program.

      • The guaranteed anonymity of this program does change the calculus, though. If I want to use police to harass someone and just call the cops, it can come back on me when it doesn’t pan out, and I run the risk of catching a charge for filing a false police report. With an anonymous tip line like this, I can send the state’s enforcers to hassle people with no fear of repercussion.

        I understand the desire to protect people who are reporting crimes, but any truly anonymous system is going to be ripe for abuse.

  7. I think this is by far the best idea I have heard.
    It targets the ” bad guys/ girls ” in a specific way.
    I am going to show this to my local law enforcement.
    If upon the tip they find the gun(s) are legal no harm no foul.
    Some may see this as ” another infringement on privacy” but no free society has a perfect system and this is an excellent starting point.

    • Depends on how the check is done. If each tip is followed by a 2AM SWAT raid, then this is most definitely not a good idea.

    • As I posted above, I am all for community involvement with their law enforcement. When you take this to your local agency you might also suggest a brief refresher course on applied authority and the fine line between mere suspicion, reasonable suspicion and probable cause. A text message to the PD is not the same thing as a samaritan walking up to a police officer and pointing out a situation as it unfolds. New tools to help the police catch bad guys can be good. Sometimes those new tools get the police in trouble because they blur previously well defined civil rights. That can ruin lives.

      • “you might also suggest a brief refresher course on applied authority and the fine line between mere suspicion, reasonable suspicion and probable cause”

        You might also add to that list a refresher on the State laws that exist. For example, if OC is legal, they don’t have to go in “Hot” just because some anus-head “reported” someone with a gun.

        You might ask, for example, “What is your anti-SWATting policy? Do you are charge SWATters with filing a false report?”

        Opening a door of communication is a good thing.

  8. Something about snitching on your peers disgusts me. As a group(criminal or law abiding) the idea that you rat on your peeps has always struck me as wrong.
    This also sets up the question of how police act on a tip. Is this ‘tip’ enough to generate a warrant?
    Judging from the vast over reach of law enforcement I don’t like this idea.

    • In WW2, after the surrender of Italy, the Italian military requested to become part of the allied forces against Germany. General Eisenhower was incensed that the Italians would turn on their former partners, and refused to have anything to do with Italian forces. The result was allied casualties (the original allies) that might have been lower with Italian troops incorporated. American soldiers and families paid a terrible price for Eisenhower’s offended principles. The object of war is to win, not win in some special sort of way.

    • I hear what you are saying William, but think how hard it it is to stop, solve or prevent crime, with the “no snitch” attitude ” prevalent in many crime ridden areas.

    • “Something about snitching on your peers disgusts me”; the timeless thug creed and piss poor attitude that afflicts all criminals and stoners. Too funny!

      • So if Hilldog wins and prohibits “Assault weapons” (I hate that made up word) you’ll be the first in line to turn in your neighbours? You can’t have one without the other. (For the record, I believe laws without an indentfiable victim to be unjust, if someone is caused real harm there may be a case)

        • “you’ll be the first in line to turn in your neighbours? “

          Of course he will. You must not recognize him from his previous posts.

        • Typical nutty paranoid conspiracy theorist apples to oranges lame comparison that pivots and spins the argument from the topic of apprehending felons in possession of firearms to an assault weapons ban.

          Only an idiot, thug, criminal, stoner, or all of the above equates the possession of firearms by felons to the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms.

        • Let me understand, here. You think that criminals/felons or whatever, somehow become non-human and no longer have a right to life? To protect themselves in self-defense? If the people have a natural, God-given, civil right to self-defense, that means all the people, all the time. Might be difficult to live with, but rights for all, or rights for none. The determination is always a political issue, ruled by the majority.

        • “Only an idiot, thug, criminal, stoner, or all of the above equates the possession of firearms by felons to the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

          Typical closed minded, reductionist ad hominem “agree with me or I will call you names” nonsense. It’s what I expect.

          You really need to get some new material. Your old act is wearing thin.

          Here’s one problem with your “don’t arm felons” premise: just about everything above talking in a movie theater is a felony nowadays. Between malum prohibitum laws and “crimes against bureaucracy”, you are basically willing to disarm everyone on the basis of “OMG…FELON!”

          Case in point: CT declared it a felony (so it meets BOTH criteria…malum prohibitum AND crime against bureaucracy…to ‘fail to register’ certain kinds of guns in CT.

          You are okay with that? Of course a Statist jack-boot would be okay with that. You got the badge and the hunky dory to “shoot the proles” when they rise up, eh?

          Here’s a hint for you. Not all cops think like you. Not all former LEO’s think us vs them in terms of “Felons” or whatever other horseshit you swallow everyday convincing yourself you are better than everyone else.

          Another hint: As a former LEO, I’ve known felons I trust with guns FAR, FAR more than I trust the likes of you with guns.

      • @Ted
        “Only an idiot, thug, criminal, stoner, or all of the above equates the possession of firearms by felons to the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms.”‘

        But there’s the rub, inherent within your own statement. What if the good citizens of, say, Colorado wake up one day to find their 30 round AR15 mags have been banned, and although they were legal yesterday, today you’d be convicted as a felon for possession. As I stated above, some unjust and unconstitutional laws cry out for disobedience.

        Here in Washington, if my buddy comes over to visit and hands me his new pistol to look at, I’m a felon to “take possession” of it without a background check. When I hand it back to him, HE’s committed a felony for not having undergone a background check. You gonna turn us in for that? If so, you’re far from welcome in my corner of the world.

    • I think you are using the “snitch” word to cover way to broad a spectrum of activities. We are not talking about telling the guard that the guy in the next cell over has a titty magazine hidden under his bunk, or telling mom that your brother took a cookie without asking. It’s not even calling the SS to report the family of Jews living under your neighbors floor. This is giving people who would make a show in front of the neighbors by chasing the police off of their door step to make sure they were not retaliated against by the gang who sells drugs on the corner in front of her house and conducting street gang warfare every day and night.

      If you can’t tell the difference between “snitching” on malum prohibitum offenses like the magazine/cookie or a family that is trying not to be burned alive, and “snitching” on malum in se offenses like the entire neighborhood knowing who did the drive by but won’t report it and threatening households that they will be killed if they call the cops on their corner dope operation . . . then you might be part of the problem.

      • I see the distinction you’re making, but isn’t a tip line for calling in “illegal guns” more of a malum prohibitum thing? A felon in possession of a gun, who is not currently using it to commit a crime against another person, is only a crime because the state says it is. Until he points it at someone with ill intent, it’s no different than the hypothetical titty magazine in your example.

        • Not within the presented context of the thug who threatens the neighbors into silence under penalty of death. If it is your house and family being threatened will you wait until they have actually shot up your house? It isn’t even remotely close to the maybe same thing as the titty magazine example. It’s apples and circuit boards.

        • Problem is, these kinds of tip lines aren’t limited to turning in “thugs threatening to burn down your house”. They’re for turning in *anyone* who has (or doesn’t have, if you just want to harass someone) an “illegal gun”. Maybe it’s a gang-banger threatening people, like in your example. Maybe it’s a guy who took a plea on a drug possession case twenty years ago, and now just wants to have a shotgun to protect his home (maybe from those thugs we were just talking about). Maybe it’s somebody who has a 30-round AR magazine in a city or state where it’s verboten, and his ex-wife wants to screw him over. If you think the PD is going to only go after known gang-bangers, and won’t be rolling up on any halfway-legitimate-sounding tip that comes in, you have way more faith in the police than I do.

        • Everybody can already turn anybody in for anything. This number does nothing to change that. What a reporting system like this does do is provide a way for people who fear for their lives to ethically help the police added to the myriad of other ways people already unethically (by the prohibitum/in se standard) snitch on people for behavior they don’t like. I never suggested or endorsed turning the threat of force (police in this case) on others for doing something that you don’t like. Will a system like this be abused? Abso-frick’n-lutely, but that changes nothing. People already can and do. I’m still not sold that this is a good idea, but it does offer something legitimate and different that other similar methods do not.

          Then again, you’re probably right. Telling the police anything is snitching and shameful. And if the tips helped police curtail the crime how could the people in those neighborhoods be able to still complain about the police that they hate so much? Yea . . . better to complain to the media that the police and government aren’t doing anything to fix the problem, then refuse to speak to them when they come to help. It’s worked so well this long, why change.

    • “Something about snitching on your peers disgusts me.”

      Newsflash: Those whose “peers” are criminals have a slightly different value system.

      What we SHOULD be disgusted by is the fact that we’re dealing with an entire community where criminal activity doesn’t get reported unless the person reporting it gets his palm greased.

  9. Couple of honest questions…

    Is the tip considered enough evidence to justify a warrant and raid?
    – if so, how to prevent the system from being used for revenge or harrasment? Especially as it’s supposed to be truly anonymous?

    What are the penalties for submitting false tips?

    If it’s truly anonymous, how do the tipsters get paid?

    Not a bad idea, I think, but as often the case the devil will be in the details.

    • I was wondering how they get paid too. It literally does not make sense. Also, I’m skeptical this won’t lead to SWAT raids on bogus tips.

    • Just put on the warrant that you received an anonymous tip, pocket the tax-payers $250, and go kick in a door….Its fool-proof recipe for a good time (for any wannabe jack-boot thugs).

    • I had the same immediate reaction. I am no lawyer but I did do well in my applied authority classes. With that as my basis of knowledge this seems like fucking nightmare for a cop on the street to me. It comes down to the articulate-able facts that an officer can use to establish mere suspicion, reasonable suspicion and probable cause and the justified actions the officer can take at each level.

      “Is the tip considered enough evidence to justify a warrant and raid?”
      Since text messages (SMS) are limited to 160 characters you will be damn hard pressed to articulate enough information to get probable cause (required for a warrant) with a brief one sided message. At best it could be used as a lead to start an investigation. If the report was about something more immediate like a guy in line at the food court the officer would have to be there on scene at the time for it to possibly qualify as reasonable suspicion (required for a “terry stop”). Otherwise they would simply have mere suspicion of every guy who remotely fit the description in the mall when they finally showed up. Certainly enough to stop you and ask a few questions but not detain you. At least that’s what the lawyer in my class taught me.

      “– if so, how to prevent the system from being used for revenge or harrasment? Especially as it’s supposed to be truly anonymous?”
      Bingo.

      “What are the penalties for submitting false tips?”
      Probably no new legislation so at worst filing a false report. But it’s supposed to be anonymous so it could turn into another way to swat people. Can’t wait for the first report that turns out to be a lawyer’s blackberry printing out.

      “If it’s truly anonymous, how do the tipsters get paid?”
      Not sure, but probably a system similar to paypal or bitcoin.

      “Not a bad idea, I think, but as often the case the devil will be in the details.”
      Definitely need to sit everybody down and discuss the guidelines about how they are to handle tips reported this way. I would hate for some cop to loose their job over honest confusion of a blurred line as much as i would hate for it to be used to swat legal carriers.

    • I question the payment method as well. Is a snitch really willing to give their personal info to a police department in which they may not trust?

      • Or all of a sudden have their kid riding a brand new bike a couple days after the cops show up. Even if it is anonymous.

    • Works the same as crime stoppers; caller gets an account number. if the tip pays-off (whatever that might be), money is deposited into the account.

      • And virtually all Crimestopper Programs offer reward payments only for “information leading to the arrest AND CONVICTION of the accused”, and pay nothing for anonymous tips that can’t be independently verified and corroborated through additional investigation to produce sufficient “probable cause” to justify an arrest or search which must additionally produce further information, details, and evidence required for the higher legal threshold of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” necessary for a conviction.

        • Agree. The article does not detail how the program works. The important point is local government trying to do something about the problem, not the innocent bystanders.

  10. “Criminal justice professor and co-chair of the National Network for Safe Communities 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 law enforcement efforts on those individuals drastically reduces the murder rate of a given area ”

    Apparently, some people have been listening:
    U.S. Marshals Service National Operation Nets More Than 8,000 Fugitives
    http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=US-Marshals-Service-National-Operation-Nets-More-Than-8000-Fugitives-29576

    This is their second year, hopefully they do this every year.

  11. Ive heard of governments doing stuff like this before but I think they were looking for illegal radios. Worked pretty well if I remember correctly.

  12. The problem with this is, when they pass some ridiculous overarching gun ban; your yuppie neighbors will be turning you in for disobeying the striping of your constitutional right to bear arms. This is a really dangerous idea.

  13. Our large, democrat controlled urban centers host a sub-culture whose members believe breaking into houses and stealing is how they are supposed to get money for school clothes. Whose mayors believe giving violent criminals “space to riot” is the proper way to deal with civil unrest. A sub-culture that easily produces mobs of thousands of violent protesters when some hapless LEO does not value the life of a murderous thug who is trying to kill him.

    40 years ago an acquaintance of mine, Ralph a member of this sub-culture, told me the story of his cousin’s murder by the police. Ralph’s cousin was armed with a handgun when he was stopped by the police. Ralph’s cousin attempted to shoot the police officers. Ralph’s cousin failed to properly maintain his weapon and it misfired. The police officers did not value Ralph’s cousins’ life and they did properly maintain their sidearms. In Ralph’s eyes the police treated his cousin unfairly because their handguns worked and his cousin’s handgun did not. Thus it was murder.

    This mindset will not be overcome with a $250.00 bribe. This sub-culture will scam and distort the purpose of any program attempted by the dominant culture to disarm it’s members.

  14. I’ll say it again as I’ve said it before: an anonymous tip should not constitute probable cause. An ansonous tip should not ever, by itself, be sufficient to obtain a search warrant. And if one person knowingly SWATS another by falsely saying that they are a deadly threat, that accuser should be charged with attempted murder.

  15. Know someone who’s infringing (even a little teesy bit) on the 2nd Amendment. Take care of that sh_t

    fo free ‘n on the house or that’s on you too. You’re with them.

  16. A dream come true for liberal gun grabbers to call the SWAT team on their law abiding gun owning neighbors.

  17. If it’s anonymous, how will they know how to get the money to you? BTW, texting isn’t anonymous, because: cell phone number.

    I predict this will initially be used by beefing sets to destabilize each other, but once they realize that it cuts both ways, they’ll broker some kind of mutual agreement to not snitch, like the ones they obviously have in place already. After that, it will just be hos snitchin on they cheatin boos and radical “progressive” gun-banners placing illegal tips about individuals they suspect to be law-abiding gun owners.

  18. Am i the only guy feeling wrong to tell on fellow citizens? I mean, it’s not like i like those criminals. But telling the cops on them just feels dishonorable. Just my FEELING.

    • To be fair, the cops are criminals themselves for taking a piss on their oaths to uphold the constitution. The moment they break that oath they should be fired. The third time they should be in prison. You are right to feel this is wrong.

    • Nope. There is some conversation about that farther up the thread. There’s a line between “snitching” and working with the police to keep a neighborhood safe to walk at night. It has definitely been blurred in recent decades, but for me the line exists in about the same place as the division between malum prohibitum and malum in se. Who cares if somebody is jaywalking or has a gun. Nothing wrong with either. Reporting the corner pusher who is threatening the neighborhood to keep their mouths shut is very clearly an entirely different thing. To me that is the difference but there are certainly entire cultures within our society who disagree.

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