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Jacksonville Sheriff's Office gun bounty program makes a comeback

12:01 AM, May 18, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sheriff John Rutherford has a message for Jacksonville criminals.

"I'm going to offer all your friends a $1,000 dollar bounty to turn you in."

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office gun bounty program that uses a cash incentive to get illegal guns off the streets of Jacksonville is coming back.

"I am St. Regis Mohawk, I am Native American and I will never rat my friends out. I don't believe in ratting my friends out. I believe in guns," said Raymond Clarence Dewitt.

The Sheriff's Office said it had tremendous success between September 2006 and January 2013 when it received more
than 2,600 tips and confiscated more than 330 guns.
But the tips fell off when the funds for the marketing declined.

"What concerns me most of all is the fact that we had a 22 percent increase in the number of firearms discharged at a crime scene," Rutherford said.

The Sheriff is now urging the community to get involved -- and pick up the phone -- but some locals think anonymous tips aren't enough
to stop the violence along the First Coast.

"People's choice, they want to have guns, I can't tell them what to do with them, but totally against them, shouldn't have them," said Mitchell, who did not want to give his last name.

First Coast News

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