KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A big increase in the TIPS Hotline reward and a changing crackdown on crime are among the shifting strategies local leaders announced Friday in their effort to make the city safer.
The TIPS Hotline is boosting its reward for information about homicides that lead to arrests in Kansas City, Missouri, to $25,000. That's the largest crime tips reward of any in the nation.
City taxpayers are funding this increase, patterned after a similar effort in Omaha, Neb., where the number of so-called solved homicides surged to more than 90 percent when that city started paying $25,000.
The TIPS Hotline also now is paying a guaranteed $1,000 reward for tips that lead to the arrests of people using firearms illegally.
"Since 1982 no tipster’s name has ever been known to us. Period," said Rick Armstrong, president of the KC Crime Commission. "It’s truly anonymous. This is an absolutely safe and invisible way for people to receive $25,000 in cash for giving us information. The reward is not taxable. You get every penny. You get $25,000 and it gets paid in cash."
After helping reduce homicides and shootings in 2014, the Kansas City No Violence Alliance is changing its strategy. NOVA is now targeting individuals instead of group-related crime.
This change is patterned after a drop in violence Tampa, Fla., is reporting after police started targeting trigger pullers.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and explosives says of more than 2,100 firearms Kansas City police seized last year, eight out of 10 came from Missouri. And more than 700 had been reported stolen.