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Gun Bounty Program: Program Design and Evaluation for the City of Pittsburgh

NCJ Number
Date Published
69 pages
This report examines trends in youth violence and potential interventions to address gun violence, with a focus on Pittsburgh; presents the rationale for and the design of a gun bounty program; and proposes an evaluation plan for such a program.
In Pittsburgh, the increase in juvenile and youth handgun violence began in 1990 and peaked in 1993. Despite several years of attempting to counter youth gun violence, crime rates remain above their levels prior to the peak; it is critical to continue developing and implementing programs that work to reduce levels of youth gun violence. A wide variety of interventions were considered for implementation in Pittsburgh. The interventions most seriously considered were stricter gun regulations, probation and police ride-along, and gun capture programs. Each category of interventions was evaluated, based on several criteria that ranged from feasibility to potential impact. A gun bounty program was selected because it could be implemented by linking it to existing programs; it could use existing resources; and it simultaneously addressed the supply of and demand for guns. The bounty program uses a public place to confiscate illegally possessed guns. Anyone can contact the bounty program by calling a designated phone number. The caller relays specific detailed information about the gun possession and the gun's location. Operating under agency protocol, police officers respond immediately to specific, immediate, and public tips. If an offender is arrested, the caller who provides the information will be eligible for a $100 reward. The program ensures the anonymity of callers by assigning each tip a secret numerical code. This code identifies a caller throughout the reporting and payment process. Program evaluation should determine whether the program leads to an increase in the number of firearms confiscated, a decrease in the number of youth firearms-related activities, and a decrease in the level of firearm carrying by youth due to attitude changes. The report discusses how these effects can be measured in an evaluation plan. 5 tables, 8 figures, and appended gun tips forecast, a description of the Gun Stoppers Program in Charleston, SC, and the Pittsburgh Gun Bounty Crime Survey

Date Published: January 1, 1998