CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A contribution of up to $30,000 from the Champaign County Community Coalition and the City of Champaign will fund an illegal gun bounty reward program sponsored by the county’s Crime Stoppers chapter, according to a press release.
Champaign County Crime Stoppers launched the Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program; since then, the anonymous tip-taking group has paid out $12,000 in reward money to its tipsters. Those tips led to 13 arrests and 23 recovered firearms, according to a press release. Some of those weapons had serial numbers that had been defaced, were illegally modified or had been reported stolen.
“The Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program has resulted in a significant increase in the number of anonymous tips Crime Stoppers receives from the public about crimes involving firearms,” John Hecker, Champaign County Crime Stoppers president said. “Our organization is proud to play a role in helping to address the community’s gun crime problem.”
The bounty program received recognition from the national Crime Stoppers organization, awarding it Community Initiative of the Year.
Tracy Parsons, a facilitator of the Champaign County Community Coalition said members are “pleased” by the community’s response to the program.
“We refuse to normalize gun violence,” Parsons said in a press release. “The Champaign County Community Coalition continues to actively engage in several different programs and initiatives with community members to combat gun violence. We’re encouraged to see the impact that Crime Stoppers is having in this area and are happy to partner with them so this successful program can continue.”