Gun bounty pays out $1,000 per illegal gun

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 09, 2016

"One gun. One arrest. One grand,” said Lisa Haber, Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay executive director.

It's the formula, they hope, for one less homicide in Tampa.

"We are targeting the violent criminals that illegally have firearms,” Haber said.

Crime Stoppers will now pay you $1,000 if you turn in someone with an illegal gun and they're arrested. The program is all anonymous.

"I think it's going to really save a lot of lives, allow people to report criminal activity without the fear of retaliation, without the fear of possibly being killed,” Assistant State Attorney Felix Vega said.

The gun bounty program, called "See it. Say it. Stop it," isn't a gun buy-back. Buy-backs largely bring in older firearms.

It comes on the heels of a string of youth homicides, including Edward "E.J." Harris, who was gunned down in Woodland Terrace Park while walking near his home in March.

The mayor opened up community centers to late night hours in response over the summer.

"Anything that we can do to incentivize good people to give us the information necessary, to get these guns off the street, is a worthwhile endeavor,” Vega said.

The gun bounty idea will use $10,000 from the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero grant awarded to Tampa by team owner Jeff Vinik.

It will also be funded by suspects who pay $40 to go through a court pretrial intervention program.

But it only works if people call Crime Stoppers at 800-873-8477.

"We need to have people help us because we are at a standstill without that,” State Attorney Mark Ober said.