ORLANDO, Fla. - Channel 9 learned CrimeLine not only pays for crime tips, but they’ve also given away thousands of dollars in reward money for guns used to commit those crimes.
“(The money) is there for a purpose,” said Barb Bergin of CrimeLine. “And when we're giving out money, we're solving crimes in central Florida, so that's a good thing.”
If a tip is called in that leads to an arrest and a gun is seized, the payout can go up by an additional $1,000.
“Guns that are coming off the streets, especially crime guns or illegal guns, is a win for all of us and the community,” said Sgt. Jim Young.
The program started in 2007 and since then, nearly 500 guns have been recovered, officials said.
Twenty-three of the weapons were used in robberies, and another 10 in homicides, authorities said.
Mayor Buddy Dyer borrowed the idea from Jacksonville.
“In a time when we are focused on crime, it has worked,” he said
Along with the weapons, more than $1 million in drugs were recovered and $433,000 in cash, officials said.
CrimeLine tips potentially paid out $256,000, so it’s a net gain in more ways than just money.
“It's hard to evaluate which tips saved a life,” said Bergin.
While 498 guns were seized, some of those weapons were tied to more than one crime, officials said. In one instance, two guns were traced back to nine different robberies.
Tipsters can contact CrimeLine at 800-423-TIPS.