The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department celebrated a milestone Friday but gave credit to the community: the 100th gun seized from a felon thanks to a 3-year-old tip line.
“Firearm by Felon” encourages people to anonymously call police if they see a felon with a gun.
The program has netted 69 arrests since its inception in May 2012, CMPD Officer Toriarno Roddey announced at a news conference at police headquarters. Seven guns have been seized so far this year, he said.
“CMPD believes that the community deserves all the credit for making this program such a success and helping us get these dangerous weapons off the streets, and getting these convicted felons charged,” Roddey said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
The program is similar to Crime Stoppers, where people call a tip line if they know the whereabouts of a suspect.
With Firearm by Felon, callers can receive up to a $500 reward if their tip leads to an arrest – $250 if it involves a charge of misdemeanor possession of a weapon.
“All of these tips are anonymous,” Roddey said. “Whatever the tip is, we don’t want to know anything about you, just the information needed for us to start an investigation.”
About 75 percent of eligible callers collected their rewards, police said. Some are more interested in getting the felon and the weapon off the street, police said.
In all, CMPD officers make several hundred arrests each year on the charge of possession of a firearm by a felon, 389 in 2014 alone, according to figures released by the department Friday. In 2014, CMPD impounded 2,000 weapons.
CMPD Deputy Chief Vicki Foster said she came up with the idea for Firearm by Felon after an increase in violent crime.
“At that time, we’d seen a lot of instances of violent crime and tried to figure out a way for the community to get involved,” Foster said. “The people in the community, they do know” the armed felons in their neighborhoods.
Police said it’s up to the courts to decide the fate of the felons arrested through the program.
“Our goal is to get the gun off the street,” Foster said.
Firearm by Felon: Who to call?
See a convicted felon with a gun? Call 704-334-1600 to leave an anonymous tip. Tipsters must give the name or a detailed description of the suspect, and where the person is at the time of the call.