Tipsters can get thousands of dollars through Crimestoppers’ Crime Gun Reward
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Workers at NOLA Smoke and Vape on Gentilly Ave. come back to work after an armed robbery on Sunday. The shaken up employees say the New Orleans Police Department is searching the area for the black male suspect and his gun, after he entered the store and demanded money at around 3:08 PM.
Officials say the suspect left the scene with cash and merchandise.
New Orleans crime fighters say something like this isn’t uncommon this time of year.
“We typically see an increase in violent crime particular in the summer. Darlene Cuanza, the President & CEO of Crimestoppers GNO, said.
Cuanza and law enforcement agencies across the 9-parish area announced on Monday a new Crime Gun Reward initiative to get more weapons off the street.
“We have to be creative and the key to all of this is we can’t do it alone,” New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.
The breakdown is that a tipster must give information about the crime, as with all Crimestoppers tips, and the location of the gun used in the incident. If it’s found, Crimestoppers will add a thousand dollars to the existing reward.
$200 will be added if authorities can link the gun to other crimes with the cap being $2,000. However, homicide will net a max reward of $5,500 if all steps were met and the gun is linked to 10 other crimes.
Law enforcement officials hope the initiative will close more cases and put families and communities at ease.
“We know that most crimes are being committed by the same guns. We see it on our charts. We see a shooting in New Orleans is connected to a shooting in Jefferson parish and all of our surrounding regions,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said.
Crimestopper officials say the initiative will last throughout the summer but if they see success, they will consider extending it throughout the year.
“Law enforcement needs you to speak up,” Cuanza said.
Another way the agency is helping communities is by offering screened barricades to shield the more gruesome areas of a crime scene with the hope of preventing trauma in the neighborhoods.
“We are always trying to think outside of the box on what can we do to be a better resource for law enforcement, what we can we do to fill a gap for citizens and law enforcement,” Cuanza said.
The barriers were made possible by both an anonymous donor and funds raised by the Crimestoppers organization. A total of 18 were bought, with the NOPD getting nine and surrounding agencies getting one each.
Officials say if the barriers work well, they will put in an order for additional ones.
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