Suffolk County has launched a new program aimed at getting illegal guns off the streets.
The partnership with Crime Stoppers will award $500 fast-cash to any person in Suffolk who provides a tip to 1-800-220-TIPS (8477) if that call leads to a gun seizure or arrest. The cash would be delivered within 72 hours.
“We know when gun violence increases, people get hurt, people die, and we’re seeing it not just here but across the country,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said during a news conference on Monday, noting that the cash reward is expected to be a motivator for people to come forward with information about illegal guns.
In the past weekend alone, Suffolk saw six shooting incidents in five different towns, leaving two people dead, one in Amityville and one in West Babylon, Bellone noted. Another was a shooting at a supermarket parking lot in Center Moriches, which left two victims injured.
“Unfortunately this was a violent weekend on Long Island,” Bellone said. “This scourge in our region and in this county will not stand, and we will do everything we can to attack this issue.”
Bellone added that gun violence has increased 48 percent in the county, which has also seen overall increases in gun-related hospitalizations and arrests.
Acting Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron noted that many recent shootings this summer have happened at house parties and that the department would focus efforts in that area to prevent further gun violence.
“The increase in shootings in our county is disturbing,” he said. “But I’m confident that the work of our department will be able to bring that back in check.”