The Champaign County Community Coalition and the City of Champaign will contribute up to $30,000 to Champaign County Crime Stoppers to support the nonprofit’s Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program. Through this program Champaign County Crime Stoppers pays their maximum $1,000 cash reward for anonymous tips that lead to the arrest of an individual using a gun during the commission of a felony crime in Champaign County.
The Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program has been very successful since it launched in January 2019. During the program’s first 11 months, Champaign County Crime Stoppers paid out $12,000 in rewards for anonymous tips which resulted in 13 arrests and the recovery of 23 firearms (16 handguns, 4 rifles, and 3 shotguns), including weapons that had defaced serial numbers, had been illegally modified, or were reported stolen.
“The Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program has resulted in a significant increase in the number of anonymous tips Crime Stoppers receives from the public about crimes involving firearms,” reports John Hecker, President of Champaign County Crime Stoppers. “Our organization is proud to play a role in helping to address the community’s gun crime problem. Crime Stoppers is grateful to the Champaign County Community Coalition and the City of Champaign for supporting our efforts to fight crime in Champaign County.”
Tracy Parsons, facilitator of the Champaign County Community Coalition adds, “After seeing the community’s response to the Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program we are pleased to see community members partnering with us. We refuse to normalize gun violence. The Champaign County Community Coalition continues to actively engage in several different programs and initiatives with community members to combat gun violence. We’re encouraged to see the impact that Crime Stoppers is having in this area and are happy to partner with them so this successful program can continue.”
The Champaign County Community Coalition’s Executive Committee partners include: City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Champaign County, Champaign County Mental Health Board, Champaign Police Department, Urbana Police Department, Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, Champaign County State’s Attorney, University of Illinois Police Department, Champaign Park District, Urbana Park District, Champaign School District, Urbana School District, University of Illinois, Parkland College, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, Regional Planning Commission, Housing Authority of Champaign County, and United Way of Champaign County.
In September 2019, Crime Stoppers USA recognized Champaign County Crime Stoppers’ Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program with the Community Initiative of the Year Award (population under 250,000). All tips provided to Crime Stoppers are completely anonymous and cash rewards are paid for information that leads to an arrest. Tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers by phone (217-373-TIPS), online (373tips.com), or through the “P3 Tips” mobile app. Champaign County Crime Stoppers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and public donations to support the organization can be made online at 373tips.com.