Money talks - Crime Stop already getting information on illegal guns
With significantly higher sums being offered to persons who provide information that lead to the retrieval of illegal firearms, the manager for Crime Stop, Prudence Gentles, believes it will lead to increased participation from members of the public.
She told THE STAR that within 24 hours of Prime Minister Andrew Holness' announcement of the increased incentive for information on weapons, already they have received a number of calls.
"We have had four calls since (yesterday) morning that we have made into files," she said yesterday.
Gentles clarified that the rewards were set by The Ministry of National Security and are to be given based on the calibre of the weapon that the police recover, and thus they are the ones who will provide the money to make payments.
Before the announcement by the prime minister, Crime Stop had a similar rewards-for-guns initiative, which has been running for approximately 10 years.
However, Gentles noted that the success of that programme fluctuated over the years.
"Over the years, we have had some great successes and a few years not so much. So it has been up and down," she said.
Based on the information which Gentles provided, the money being offered under the ZOSO reward programme, more than doubles, triples and almost quadruples the sums offered in the past for the different categories of weapons.
"He (Holness) is offering $150,000 for rifles, we were offering $50,000. Pistols and sub-machine guns were $40,000, and he is now saying $100,000. Revolvers were $20,000, and he is now offering $75,000," she outlined.
She said the Government has partnered with Crime Stop because of their expertise in handling sensitive information in the past by offering a good track record.
"We are more than willing to partner with the Government on this in offering our 311 anonymous telephone line, which has never been compromised to help the Government get the guns off the streets," she said.