PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Police Chief Tonya Chapman on Monday began a new initiative to combat gun violence in the city.
The 1G-4-PEACE program allows residents to alert police through the Crime Line about guns on school property, illegal or stolen guns, felons in possession of a gun or people who have committed a crime with a gun that they still have. Residents could receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the tip leads to an arrest.
1G-4-PEACE is part of the Community Awareness Reduction and Engagement (C.A.R.E.) program, which is dedicated to making the community aware of how they can reduce violence in their neighborhoods by engaging with law enforcement partners.
To alert the Portsmouth Crime Line of a firearm related tip, send “PORTSMOUTH 1G4PCE” along with your tip about the gun crime to the word “CRIMES” (274637). The tip is sent directly to the Portsmouth Crime Line. Tipsters remain 100 percent anonymous.
1G4PCE is for firearm-related tips only and is specific to the City of Portsmouth. To give information about any other crime, please omit the “1G4PCE” after “PORTSMOUTH” in your text tip.
“That information automatically goes to our lieutenants who will gather an immediate response to the tip. It is totally anonymous, the individual that texts the tip to us. They will later receive a number so they’re never identified as to who they are and then they will be given directions as to where to pick up their reward,” Chapman said.
The department received two tips on the first day of the program.
Police said someone packaged a gun that may have been used in a homicide in a box marked “Very Important,” and addressed it to the police department last week. Chapman is grateful for the person who put it in the mailbox and the postal carrier who made sure it arrived safely.
“It was shocking, but it was exhilarating, because it let us know that our impact is working, reaching out to the community, trying to get them to report incidents of crime,” she said.
Chapman wants more residents to feel comfortable connecting investigators with illegal guns, though she discourages anyone from handling or packaging the weapons for safety reasons.
Chapman has also rolled out other programs and initiatives to build trust between officers and the community they serve.
“We are committed to the safety and well-being of every citizen in the City of Portsmouth,” Chapman said. “The ultimate goal is to help make a difference in the community by reducing crime and enhancing the quality of life for all Portsmouth citizens.”