Police launch effort against illegal guns
March 29, 2007 04:56 PM EDT
Indianapolis - Law enforcement officials announced a community initiative to get illegal guns off the streets.
Marion County has seen a succession of violent crimes since the start of the year, including a rash of carjackings in January and two separate murder cases of women with their young children present.
Police are looking to the public for help in catching several suspects in unsolved crimes. Now they want help in keeping unregistered guns off the streets.
Sheriff Frank Anderson and Chief Michael Spears joined community leaders to announce "Operation Saturday Night Special." They spoke about the program at the Englewood Christian Church on Rural Street Thursday morning.
Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson talks about fighting crime and on Thursday he put his money where his mouth is. Anderson presented Crime Stoppers of central Indiana with a $100,000 check. The money comes from the jail commissary when inmates by snacks and supplies.
Crime Stoppers will use the money to pay tips to people who help police find illegal guns. Anonymous callers can earn $500 every time they help officers retrieve a gun that leads to an arrest. The gun tip money couldn't come at a better time.
"We rely on the community to make these tips, though. It's up to the individuals in the community to call our number," said John Apolzan, Crime Stoppers.
In 2006, instead of selling illegal guns confiscated from suspects, Sheriff Anderson ordered the guns destroyed. The guns are disabled by a property room supervisor using a vice pressure machine.
"I refuse to put another gun back on the street. Perhaps there is no way to tell how many lives we have saved by doing that," said Anderson.
Now anyone can pocket $500 with just an anonymous phone call and, police say, possibly save a life at the same time.
"We would like to try to proactively, preventably be in front of the crime and keep them from occuring," said Chief Spears.
The chief talked about lives torn apart by gun violence, saying that someone's momentary lapse of judgment or anger can turn into a lifetime of despair for families. Indianapolis saw one such apparent example of that when a teenager shot a family friend to death over a van repair bill earlier this week.
Call 262-TIPS to receive a cash reward for reporting an illegal gun.