2007-01-26 / Front Page

PC: Help NYPD In Taking Guns Off Streets

Pushes 'Operation Gun Stop' In Wake Of Local Shootings
By Miriam Rosenberg

Pushes 'Operation Gun Stop' In Wake Of Local Shootings

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, seen in a January 2006 when he visited the 101 Precinct, is asking for the help of the residents of New York City in the department's quest to take illegal guns off city streets. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, seen in a January 2006 when he visited the 101 Precinct, is asking for the help of the residents of New York City in the department's quest to take illegal guns off city streets. The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's help in taking illegal guns off the streets of Rockaway in the wake of a spate of shootings and homicides late last year.

That was the message delivered by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in a short video that was shown at this month's 101 Precinct Community Council meeting.

"We have to get illegal guns off the street," said Kelly in the video. "Under the Operation Gun Stop program, the New York City Police Department is offering $1,000 to anyone whose tip leads to an arrest. You don't have to give your name. You get the cash. No questions asked."

At a meeting with Kelly and Chief Thomas Dale of Queens South, the presidents of the community councils for the borough of Queens were asked to show the video said Gian Jones, the president of the 101 Precinct Community Council.

"This is a major passion of [the commissioner's]. It's a program he really wants to push and push aggressively," Jones said at the January 17 Community Council meeting.

"I felt a great sense of commitment from him and his office to reduce crime, particularly crimes that involve unlicensed guns. He made us feel better, walking away, about the [Sean] Bell incident and other incidents that went unrecognized."

Jones said Kelly, school chancellor Joel Klein and the mayor's office are working to show the video that includes the stories of three gun violence deaths in schools citywide.

Jones said that the commissioner supports showing the video in the schools and asked anybody at the meeting who has a school connection to work with the council in getting it utilized at that school.

"There are no concrete plans, as of yet, to distribute the information on a citywide basis, but they are working on it," Jones added, saying that it would be, most likely, targeted to middle school and high school kids.

"We felt, if kids could see this, it's not going to get to everybody, [but] if one kid decided '"Let me turn in my gun. Let me stop shooting people,'" then it was a success to some degree," Jones said.

Operation Gun Stop is a program that began in 2001. On January 1, The Daily News reported that between January 1 and December 10 of last year, the police received 710 tips about illegal guns through Operation Gun Stop. These tips led to 549 arrests and the confiscation of 293 illegal guns. A total of $189,000 in reward money was paid out by the NYPD.

The initiative also brought results earlier this month.

On January 18, a Brooklyn man, Nicholas Bianchino, 45, of Sheepshead Bay was arrested at his home with 15 weapons including three AK-47s, two 30-caliber machine guns and ammunition.

Residents can call a confidential hotline at 1-866-GUNSTOP to report an illegal handgun.

"It won't make you a traitor to your community, but it will make you a lifesaver," concluded Kelly in the video.

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