Cash rewards for tips on guns, change minds about snitching - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

McCarthy: Cash rewards for tips on guns, change minds about snitching

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago's top cop has a new idea to help get guns off the streets: Pay criminals for tips about other people carrying illegal guns and tap celebrities for their help to change minds.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy wants to implement a program he calls "Gun Stoppers," similar to crime stoppers. Tipsters can anonymously call in with information, and if it gets a gun off the street the caller would get a cash reward.

At a violence forum Thursday night, the superintendent talked about how big a problem illegal guns really are.

"The proliferation of firearms in this city is overwhelming," McCarthy said. "We lead the country every single year in the number of guns seized by the Chicago Police Department."

With so many more still on the streets, shootings and murders have become a way of life in some neighborhoods.

On our way to this forum on violence at Kennedy King College, the scanner was lighting up with another shooting.

The purpose of this forum - entitled Plea for Peace - was to talk about solutions to Chicago's violence problem and trim the city's murders rate, which has already topped 400.

Diane Latiker runs a Roseland outreach program called Kids off the Block.

"When you put a gun in a 14-year-old's hands all he knows how to do is shoot it," Latiker said, "because he saw it on TV… When are we as adults going to decide to be adults, because what we do is lead and guide and nurture and care. When are we going to do that?"

The panel talked about the negative influence of rap music, and the problem of the "no snitch" culture that allows crimes to go unsolved... an issue the superintendent plans to tackle head on.

"We're looking for is artists, we're looking for athletes, we're looking for actors, somebody who these kids are actually going to relate to and listen to," McCarthy said, "to give them the message that snitching is if you and I commit a crime and I get caught, if you're a victim or a witness to a crime, by saying something you might be saving a life."

The superintendent said that plan would involve setting up a major marketing plan with high profile celebrities, for a program that he said has not been tried anywhere else in the country.

The idea is to change people's mindset, so if they know something about a crime they will come forward. But the fear of retaliation is a major hurdle to overcome.

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