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New plan to get guns away from Indianapolis kids

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As the number of kids involved in violence continues to rise in Indianapolis, there is a new plan in place to keep our young people safe.

Just last week, a 15-year-old was found shot to death on the west side. Wednesday night, Mayor Joe Hogsett (D) brought that story up as a way to highlight the pressing need to do more to keep our kids safe. And he says it begins with getting young people’s help to get guns off the streets.

“We must get guns out of the hands of our children, and we must get guns out of the hands of our young people,” said Hogsett.

At his State of the City address, Hogsett made one thing clear: stopping the cycle of youth violence in our city starts with the youth themselves.

“This program will reward young people for speaking up and getting these weapons out of our neighborhoods,” said Hogsett.

Under the new plan, anyone can confidentially report an illegal firearm to authorities and be eligible for a cash reward.

“If a tip leads to an arrest that results in a felony charge, they’ll receive a $750 reward,” said Hogsett.

A tipster will also receive $300 for a misdemeanor arrest. The program will be run by Central Indiana Crime Stoppers.

“The more guns we can get off the street, the safer everybody is,” said Steve Dubois of Crime Stoppers.

And while anyone can make a report, authorities are targeting their message at the area’s young people.

“They see somebody with a firearm and they want to do something about it, we want to make sure they understand and they know there’s an outlet for them to give this information,” said Dubois.

Currently, a tip leading to a felony arrest involving a gun nets a tipster $500. The new plan would pay the $250 difference, funded through an upcoming donation to Crime Stoppers. Authorities are hoping a higher payout will pay off in the form of safer streets.

In the coming weeks, Crime Stoppers will have a contest to name the program as well as getting local kids to submit artwork that will be used in the program’s upcoming advertising campaign.