CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Crime Stoppers group is hoping to increase rewards for tipsters, but they need your help to make a difference.

As gun violence impacts communities across the area, the group is looking for financial support to increase the effects of the Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program. The program was established in 2019 to incentivize people, who may otherwise be afraid to talk to police, to anonymously share crime tips with Crime Stoppers. Through the Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program, persons who provide tips which lead to the arrest of an individual who used a gun during the commission of a felony crime in Champaign County will be awarded the program’s current maximum of $1,000 cash reward.

“Members of our community are rightfully concerned about the significant increase in gun violence that is harming our communities; most recently even those involving school children. We believe many of our residents may have a willingness to help but are unsure of what they can do,” said John Hecker, President of Champaign County Crime Stoppers.

Hecker says Crime Stoppers is looking to initially increase rewards to $2,500 or $5,000 for these gun-related crimes. He says the group would even consider raising that reward to $10,000 in certain cases.

Since the program was introduced, Crime Stoppers has been able to hand out $30,000 in cash rewards. That means 35 guns have been recovered, and 32 people have been arrested for illegal gun crimes.

If you’d like to donate to this cause, you can click here.

As a reminder, all tips are completely anonymous, and cash rewards are given to ensure tipsters can remain anonymous.

To qualify for a reward, tips must come directly to Crime Stoppers via phone (217-373-TIPS) or click here. You can also do that through the free P3 Tips mobile app. The anonymity of all individuals providing information to Crime Stoppers is guaranteed.