Govt gun bounty programme begins this weekend
Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley called on the community to “meet violence with truth and courage” as he announced the launch of Government’s gun bounty programme in association with Crime Stoppers.
The campaign, which begins this weekend, will feature public service announcements on local media urging members of the public to come forward with information they may have about firearms.
A reward will be given for information for information leading to the recovery of a firearm or arrest and prosecution of an offender. Crime Stoppers chairman Raphael Simons would not disclose the amount but said in recent years the organisation had paid out over $100,000 in such instances.
“Whilst we are not prepared to state exactly what the reward will be you can use that as a guide to what we’ve paid in previous years. Rewards are handled solely by Crime Stoppers. They’re not handled by the Ministry, they’re not handled by police. It’s handled solely by Crime Stoppers.”
Said Mr Dunkley: “If you know something, say something.
“This is the basic challenge. It is a call to help law enforcement succeed in the fight against guns, gangs, drugs and violence. It is a call to those who know that it is never too late to do the right thing.
Any information given will be anonymous, the Minister said.
“Through this partnership totally confidential tips will be encouraged as a means to find criminals and their guns. Community engagement at all levels is the key to success in reversing the destructive trend of the gang lifestyle. With the added incentive of the reward we expect to achieve some success.”
Mr Dunkley was flanked at a press conference yesterday by Mr Simons and Andrea Burgess, whose son Stefan was murdered in 2012.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “There are a lot of people that know where the guns are and who has them. There’s a lot of innocent people, a lot of good people that have been affected by this, families, people that are not in gangs that have been shot. There’s children left behind, their mothers and fathers. And its unfair to the families that go through this.
“It's a hard thing to go through. Especially when you know your children are doing the best they can.”
Mr Simons added: “Those programmes that were looked [in other jurisdictions] all utilised Crime Stoppers as well. Crime Stoppers is a proven vehicle for getting anonymous information into law enforcement and that’s why those programmes have been successful.”
He urged members of the public who had concerns about the programme’s anonymity to research the matter on the internet.
“If you can find any cases whatsoever of Crime Stoppers internationally having been breached, people going to court, people being targeted as a result of information being given to Crime Stoppers, I would love to be one of the first to know,” he said.
Crime Stoppers has seen success around the world, in places which “are absolutely war-ravaged either through the finance of terrorism and gun trade or the drug trade where gangs operate”, Mr Simons said.
Calls to Crime Stoppers go to call centres outside the Island which are not operated by Bermudians, he said.
“They will not know you, and on top of that we don’t record any telephone numbers, there’s no back-tracing. All the servers that we use go through multiple different cloaking systems, encryption and all the rest of it. So its been a proven vehicle.”