Philadelphia, Turn in your neighbors gun


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Master Blaster
July 11, 2003, 12:49 PM
Tip line targets illegal firearms
The program offers tipsters a reward of up to $1,000. Some experts say its intent is good but doubt it will be effective.
By Sree Roy and Robert Moran
Inquirer Staff Writers

Amid a recent surge in murders in Philadelphia, Mayor Street launched a program yesterday to reward anonymous tipsters up to $1,000 for leading police to gun criminals.

Year after year, about 80 percent of the killings in the city are committed with handguns - giving Philadelphia the dubious distinction of having one of the nation's highest rates for gun use in homicides.

"We just can't get a handle on it," said Deputy Police Commissioner Robert Mitchell about the proliferation of firearms in the city.

Street first announced the illegal-gun initiative on May 1, the one-year anniversary of Operation Safe Streets, the city's crackdown on open-air drug dealing.

In June, Republican mayoral candidate Sam Katz made the recent increase in murders a campaign issue, calling the then-22.4 percent rise an "epidemic."

Since then, the difference has shrunk to 16.6 percent, with 168 murders as of yesterday, compared with 144 through the same time last year.

Street said it would take an "extraordinary effort" to get illegal guns off the streets.

To help police toward that end, he said, a 24-hour hotline - 215-683-GUNS - has been activated.

Callers to the hotline will be given a confidential identification number. After providing all necessary information, the caller can check on the case a week later.

If an arrest is made, the tipster is rewarded - from $250 for catching a firearms violator to $1,000 for catching a firearms trafficker or a person who has committed a violent felony.

"People in the community can feel more secure," Street said.

So how effective are these programs?

"Not very," said David Kennedy, a Harvard University researcher and expert on gun violence.

At first blush, a reward program seems a like good idea, Kennedy said.

But in reality, the potential tipster - a family member, a friend, or a victim - is disinclined to call a tip line, Kennedy said. The reasons could range from loyalty to fear.

New York started a similar program in January 2001. By this April - when the reward was doubled from $500 to $1,000 - police had received 574 tips leading to 288 arrests and the confiscation of 133 firearms.

Kennedy called that a paltry figure for a city so large.

One tip-reward program failed to generate useful tips, at least in the early going.

In Pittsburgh, a campaign was launched in August 2001 offering $25 for each illegal gun confiscated and $100 for each arrest.

Eight months later, the program had distributed only one reward for $25, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The police department did point out that it had seen an increase in illegal-gun arrests through stepped-up enforcement.

Kelly Hobbs, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, said such programs were a waste of law-enforcement resources.

"Similar programs have not had a proven impact on crime," Hobbs said.

However, Daniel Webster, codirector of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, said a reward program can be useful in reminding the public that the police are going after illegal guns.

"I think this is a reasonable thing to do, among other things," Webster said.

Bryan Miller, executive director of CeaseFirePA, based in Philadelphia, gave credit to Street for starting the program but said a more meaningful change would be for state lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws, such as a limit of one handgun a month for gun buyers.

"It's not a surprise to me that we are experiencing an increase in gun violence, because Pennsylvania does not have an adequate system of gun laws," Miller said. "It's too easy for bad people to get guns in this state."

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Mike Irwin
July 11, 2003, 12:54 PM
""It's not a surprise to me that we are experiencing an increase in gun violence, because Pennsylvania does not have an adequate system of gun laws," Miller said. "It's too easy for bad people to get guns in this state."

And a new law's not going to change that.

Some days I have hope that these morons will see just where the TRUE root the problem is, then I see quotes like this, and know that they never will.

El Tejon
July 11, 2003, 01:25 PM
Too easy to get guns? Yeah, that's the problem!:rolleyes:

When I lived in DC or Chicago, I remember all those gun shops on every corner.:rolleyes:

Master Blaster
July 11, 2003, 01:27 PM
Mike, Its like the old Three Stooges Joke:

Moe pokes Currley in the eyes and Curley yells:

I can't see, I can't see

Moe says: whats the matter?

Curley replies: I got my eyes closed!!!

:barf: :banghead:

Tropical Z
July 11, 2003, 01:32 PM
You reap what you sow.Philadelphia deserves what they get!

OF
July 11, 2003, 01:45 PM
:barf:

Sheslinger
July 11, 2003, 02:35 PM
Bryan Miller, executive director of CeaseFirePA, based in Philadelphia, gave credit to Street for starting the program but said a more meaningful change would be for state lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws, such as a limit of one handgun a month for gun buyers.


I actually think this article could have a reverse effect. The above statement is so stupid that it might make people go, "Ok, how is this going to stop illegal guns?"

I can dream, can't I?

Sheslinger

2dogs
July 11, 2003, 02:40 PM
Philadelphia deserves what they get

Hey 'bro, if Philadelphia goes, PA goes. Then you've got NJ, NY, MA. MD is going, and VA will too. Won't be long before the whole eastern seaboard goes.

CA. Gone.

WA is going. It's a cancer that will spread inward from both coasts.

So Philadelphia may get what it deserves- but it won't stop there.:uhoh:

Mike Irwin
July 11, 2003, 02:43 PM
Actually, that's often not the case, Dogs.

A LOT of BS that has originated in Philly has died on the vine in Harrisburg over the years because the legislators in much of the rest of the state don't want anything to do with it.

Leatherneck
July 11, 2003, 03:11 PM
and VA will too Little evidence of that. Big difference across the Potomac.

TC
TFL Survivor

2dogs
July 11, 2003, 03:19 PM
Mike Irwin

True enough Mike.

But don't underestimate Ed Rendell's power of persuasion, or sleaziness.

Add to that a few more liberal Republicans from areas close to Philadelphia (more and more counties are becoming extended suburbs of Philly, complete with liberal urban expatriates, and they will elect their ilk; for god sakes they want to ban horse carriages in Lancaster!), and you see where it could go, no?

2dogs
July 11, 2003, 03:26 PM
Little evidence of that. Big difference across the Potomac.

Didn't I read in the latest NRA mag an article by David Kopel which said that one-gun-a-month was passed in VA (?) partly in response to NY whining about how VA was the #1 supplier of illegal guns?

It can't happen here? :uhoh:

P95Carry
July 11, 2003, 03:58 PM
This TIPS idea and rewards etc has one other fatal flaw ... potentially. That is, the case where neighbor ''A'' ...... who loathes neighbor ''B'' can just think that it might be a good idea to tell the cops all about the ''arsenal'' next door .... in the hopes of financial gain and also the feeling of warmth at having got back at neighbor ''B''.

Neighbor ''B'' is probably an upstanding pillar of the community and neighbor ''A'' is a trouble making/seeking slimeball ...... but, if a call was made it would have to be investigated. Would it be a ''no-knock'' .... with SWAT involved?? Quite possibly ..... would neighbor ''B'' perhaps be alert and defend his home against (as he would see it) an unwarranted intrusion?

Might it all pan out with neighbor ''B'' shot up in the process . then his home wrecked. The headlines would be predictable .... ''Arsenal discovered, '1,000's' of rounds of ammunition .... owner shot resisting arrest''.

Possible? IMO yep .... sure as hell is ..... even without a TIPS scheme.

Mike Irwin
July 11, 2003, 04:03 PM
Dogs,

You need to keep up with the times, Dude!

Since 1 gun a month passed in Virginia back in 1992 or 1993...

There have been back to back Republican Governors.

The current Gov. is Democrat, but has signed some decent pro-gun stuff.

Virginia passed shall issue CCW, reforming an arbitrary issue system that was routinely abused by sheriffs as a measure of your willingness to contribute to his reelection coffers.

Has adopted a number of laws that help standardize firearms laws at a statewide level, greatly reducing the patchwork effect.

And most recently?

For the first time since the Civil War, Republicans control BOTH Houses of the State Legislature, by very comfortable margins.

A couple more liberal politicians were recently picked off in statewide elections, too.

A number of years ago the Democratic heirarchy essentially felt that it would never have a serious challenge from the Republicans in Virginia.

Republicans in the House were almost extinct, and weren't doing much better in the Senate.

Now take a look at these numbers...

Virginia House of Delegates

Republicans -- 64
Democrats -- 34
Independts -- 2


Virginia Senate

Republicans -- 23
Democrats -- 17
Independents -- 0

When those numbers becames solid after the last election, the "splat" sounds you heard were State Democratic Party Leaders throwing themselves out of windows and hitting the concrete.

The overall effect was one of shock and disbelief (followed by a lawsuit claiming gerrymandering in the redistricting process resulting from the 2000 Census), not unlike that experienced by Democrats after the numbers from the 2002 November national elections came in...

Now even the Democratic stronghold of Northern Virginia is crumbling.

I moved to Virginia in late 1993, around the same time that Mr. James did.

I think he'd agree that we've seen nothing short of a revolution in state politics here.

2dogs
July 11, 2003, 05:02 PM
You need to keep up with the times, Dude!

What, they don't sell bell bottoms anymore?:what: :D

No, you are right, it does seem that VA has moved in the right direction- but when are they going to revoke that one-a-month?

I'm just saying it's easy to slip slide away, ya know? Got to keep fighting, and make them fight for every inch of ground- because we never seem to gain it back.

, the "splat" sounds you heard were State Democratic Party Leaders throwing themselves out of windows and hitting the concrete.

Music to the ears! :neener:

Gray Peterson
July 11, 2003, 06:50 PM
WA going? I don't think so.

OF
July 11, 2003, 08:25 PM
WA was OK outside of Seattle when I lived there last year. Seattle was just trying real hard to ruin things but not getting very far.

Gun-wise at least...they did manage to drive out Boeing.

- Gabe

Standing Wolf
July 11, 2003, 10:02 PM
"We just can't get a handle on it," said Deputy Police Commissioner Robert Mitchell about the proliferation of firearms in the city.

He needs to be fired and replaced with someone with enough sense to go after criminals, not guns.

jimpeel
July 12, 2003, 10:19 PM
Street first announced the illegal-gun initiative on May 1, ... Well, if the initiative is illegal ...

goon
July 12, 2003, 10:46 PM
Rendell is a peice of garbage.
The thing is, he doesn't really have as much power as he would like.
The east and west "coasts" of the state are liberal, but there is a good ol' conservative stronghold right down the middle of the state.
Hell, even if they do come up with a one-gun-a-month law, it won't be too bad.
If the law says one gun a month, I guess I will have to pony up the dough for one gun a month. One about every three months is really enough for me, but I do try to obey the law.:neener:

AZRickD
July 12, 2003, 11:04 PM
Mike said:
Since 1 gun a month passed in Virginia back in 1992 or 1993...

There have been back to back Republican Governors.

The current Gov. is Democrat, but has signed some decent pro-gun stuff.

For the first time since the Civil War, Republicans control BOTH Houses of the State Legislature, by very comfortable margins.
That would give them plenty of opportunity to repeal the one-gun-a-month law.

How have they been progressing on that issue?

Rick

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