STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford police are hoping the lure of cold hard cash will loosen lips and lead to more arrests and gun seizures as the city fights to control and eradicate gun violence in the city.
On Friday, Stamford Mayor David Martin unveiled a number of initiatives to fight crime, including the cash reward, at a press conference in the Emergency Operations Center at the Government Center.
The city has seen about two dozen shooting incidents since spring, with nine people wounded. However, many victims and witnesses have not cooperated with police, Martin said. Nine victims have clammed up and offered police little information.
"The unfortunate part is that none of those victims have been cooperative with police in terms of sharing information that could lead directly to the arrests of their assailants and that has been a continuing problem," he said.
The Stamford Crime and Gun Stoppers program will offer a $1,000 reward for a tip that leads to the arrest of someone in possession of an illegal gun.
Martin said the gun violence is limited to a small group and said the city is determined to stop young children from being lured into the glamor of the gun culture.
“It (gun violence) is like an infection we have to stop,” Martin said.
Despite the shootings, Martin said Stamford still has a low crime rate.
"We really are a safe community," Martin said. The city has a dramatically lower rate of serious crime, including homicides, compared with other cities in Connecticut and New England, he said.
The cash rewards will be funded through the nonprofit Stamford Police Foundation.
"We have always looked at any way we can to support the police department and city hall plus keep our great city safe," said Bill Callion foundation president. "(This) is the perfect program to assist the police department and our city. Taking illegal weapons out of the hands of the few criminals is a win for every person in this city."
Anonymous tips can be submitted at www.StamfordPD.org/TIPS ; texted by sending the keyword Tip2SPD and relevant information to 274637 (CRIMES); or by calling 203-977-TIPS (8477).
A $1,000 reward will be provided for information leading to the arrest of an individual in possession of an illegal gun, with lesser rewards available for information that leads to an illegal gun.
Martin announced three other programs to ensure that at-risk individuals have options.
Project New Hope is a partnership between DOMUS and the Stamford Police Department. DOMUS outreach workers will work with police to identify and engage people ages 18 to 25 who are either involved with or at risk of becoming involved with criminal activity and will connect them with prosocial activities, needed services, personal mentoring and job readiness training.
The Stamford Police Department Boys Leadership Program is an initiative modeled after the successful and award-winning Girls Leadership Program. It will be run by veteran male police officers mentoring teen boys who are deemed to be, or are borderline, at risk.
The Yerwood Center Open Gym Program is a partnership between the Boys & Girls Club and the City of Stamford that operated through the summer. The program serviced 200 young people ages 15 to -25 and provided a safe haven for individuals to play sports, socialize and meet with mentors/counselors. Life and job skills development were provided as part of the program. The program will be extended into next year.