Richmond offers rewards to solve crimes

March 11, 2008 9:59:25 AM PDT
The Richmond Police Department began implementing a new policy this week to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of a homicide suspect even if it doesn't lead to a conviction, Lt. Mark Gagan said today.

Traditionally, rewards have only been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect, and have only been offered for some homicides, Gagan said.

The problem with attaching rewards to convictions is that it can sometimes take six to 10 years for somebody to be convicted of a homicide, Gagan said.

Meanwhile, Richmond police detectives know that there have been witnesses to many of the city's street-level homicides, but those witnesses haven't come forward.

Witnesses will still have to give enough information for police to have probable cause to arrest someone, Gagan said.

But witnesses will be able to remain anonymous and can be paid without going to the police station, Gagan said. The reward money will come from Measure Q funds, a transactional sales and use tax passed by voters in 2004.

Anyone who witnessed a homicide in Richmond is asked to call the Richmond Police Department's watch commander's office at (510) 620-6643. Witnesses can also contact individual detectives directly or call the anonymous tip line at (510) 232-TIPS.