Hoping to reduce a spike in gun violence, city police are offering to buy back guns or pay a reward for information leading to the arrest of people with illegal guns, officials announced today.
Police will offer $100 for every illegal gun turned in, whether it is a handgun or sawed-off shotgun – rifles and other legal weapons are excluded. They also will offer $500 for the information that results in the arrest of a person with an illegal gun.
Officials announced the program during a news conference at Jerry Burrell Park. They will use money from a $900,597 Operation IMPACT grant the state awarded to city police, the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department, the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office and the Schenectady County Probation Department.
District Attorney Robert Carney called the effort Phase 2. Phase 1 involved an amnesty program, launched in April, that netted seven handguns. Local law enforcement worked with the clergy to develop and offer the program.
“You can turn in your gun for $100 or run the risk that a friend will turn you in for $500,” Carney said. “Nothing is more important than curbing gun violence.”
Police will operate a full-time hotline to answer calls for the new program. The phone number is 788-6566. A public relations campaign also will be launched.
According to locally compiled statistics, the city witnessed a 5.7 percent decline in violent crime between January and May. However, for the same period, firearm-related violent crimes increased by 22 percent, and firearm-related robberies were up about 25 percent. Violent crime is defined as rape, murder, robbery, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft.
More from The Daily Gazette: