A new Suffolk County Crime Stoppers program will give residents up to $ 500 in quick cash for anonymous advice that could lead to the seizure of an illegal firearm or an arrest for illegal possession, officials said Monday following recent shootings in the county.
The Crime Stoppers hotline is 1-800-220-TIPS and residents can also download a mobile app by entering P3 Tips.
“We need the public’s help in our continued efforts to end gun violence,” Bellone said at a press conference in Hauppauge. “Illegal guns can be used to kill loved ones and they can harm our communities. We are asking for the public’s help in making any weapon illegal.
The announcement came a day after Suffolk County Police made three arrests following a shooting at Center Moriches in the parking lot of a supermarket.
“Sadly, it was a violent weekend on Long Island,” Mr. Bellone said, noting that there had been six shootings in the five towns in western Suffolk that had left two dead.
Acting Suffolk Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron said the Moriches Center shooting started with an argument between two passengers in a Mercedes containing four people. The driver pulled into the parking lot and the argument escalated to the point that two of the people shot at each other, injuring both, the commissioner said.
Four illegal firearms were recovered in this incident, Mr Cameron said.
He added that the prompt payout program means that if a tip meets the criteria, the person will receive the money within 72 hours.
“A lot of the shootings we’ve seen recently have taken place at house parties,” Mr. Cameron said. “We try to get ahead of them as much as possible, but if you are aware of any house party taking place within the boundaries of our police district, I ask that you let us know so that we can monitor it and we ensure that nothing bad happens there.
Mr Bellone said that while the gun epidemic is a nationwide problem, the new Crime Stoppers program is a way to try to fight it locally.
“I can tell you that the Suffolk County Police Department will take an aggressive approach to get guns off the streets and stop any increase in gun violence,” he said. “This partnership with Crime Stoppers is an important part of this overall effort. “
Much of Crime Stoppers’ money comes from donations, Cameron said. The Crime Stoppers program typically offers rewards of up to $ 5,000 for information that leads to arrests. It was first launched in 1994. Over $ 665,000 was awarded to informants who reported information anonymously and nearly 2,800 arrests were made in April 2021.
Mr Cameron noted that there are multiple factors leading to the increase in shootings and said that “it is a very complex problem”.
While Mr Bellone noted that a 48% increase in shootings has occurred this year, the East End has not seen such a sudden peak. Riverhead Town Police’s most recent criminal report lists an incident in the first half of 2021 for possession of a weapon.