Baltimore, MD – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has offered to pay local citizens in exchange for information that leads to the arrest of the city’s armed criminals.
“Currently, they walk the streets without fear of going to jail,” ATF Baltimore Division Special Agent In Charge Robert Cekada said, according to The Baltimore Sun. “We found public support is that missing factor that we need to close the loop on these investigations.”
Agent Cekada made the announcement during a joint press conference with Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Hur and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison on Thursday.
“This is an initiative to make sure that we can get information about people who are carrying and using those guns so we can more effective in targeting those individuals,” Commissioner Harrison explained.
“Together, we must target violent felons who illegally possess and use guns in our communities,” the commissioner continued. “The message must be clear: If a life of violence is what you choose, then prison will certainly be the price you pay.”
The ATF is offering between $1,000 and $25,000 to tipsters who provide information that leads to an arrest, Agent Cekada confirmed.
“Far too many people are being shot and killed in our city,” Hur told reporters. “Far too many people are making the poor choice of arming themselves before they go out in the streets, and far too many of our most vulnerable people, our children, our babies are becoming victims to senseless gun violence.”
Despite Baltimore’s strict gun laws, there have been over 200 shootings in the city this year alone.
Police have also investigated 116 homicides in Baltimore since January.
The new initiative was announced just an hour after one of those murders, WJZ reported.
It went into effect on Monday, and will run indefinitely.
People can leave information anonymously via the ATF tip line, which is currently advertised on seven billboards throughout the city, Agent Cekada said.