Published: Jan 11, 2013 9:19 AM EST
Updated: Jan 11, 2013 7:28 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Fort Myers Police Department in cooperation with Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is offering an enhanced financial reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of some of the City’s most violent, repeat, offenders.

In addition to reward money already being offered through Crime Stoppers, FMPD is upping the ante to stop the violence. Citizens can earn an additional $5,000 for anonymous tips that lead to the arrests of persons illegally possessing firearms and persons who have committed robberies.

FMPD is also offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any homicide in the City of Fort Myers.

“We are encountering far too many situations where innocent people are being put at risk – including children,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator. “

Both Crime Stoppers and the Fort Myers Police Department are hopeful that the lure of extra reward money will encourage people in the know who haven’t come forward in the past to do so now.

Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker echoed those sentiments asking witnesses to stand up for what’s right.

“We need witnesses who are willing to follow cases through to their conclusions to hold violent offenders accountable. But that’s not happening,” said Chief Baker.

“If the extra financial incentive is what it takes to make that happen, here is your chance. We need the community to step up to the plate and do the right thing," he said.

Chief Baker is also reaching out to lawmakers for help in solving the rash of violent crimes in the city, that includes 44 homicides in the past two years.  Chief Baker sent a letter to Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto ultimately asking lawmakers to consider offering more protection for witnesses and victims.

The Chief says they rely on witnesses who are willing to talk to help them close a case, but he wants to keep the media and the public from finding out who those people are.

Crime Stoppers wants to remind residents that they will remain completely anonymous when providing their tips.  No names or information which could identify the caller are ever taken, and Crime Stoppers never records phone calls and does not have caller ID.  Tipsters are given a code number, which is the only way they are identified, and all rewards are picked up in cash, so as not to be traced back to the tipster in any way, shape or form.  Tips may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).  Tips may also be made online at www.swflcrimestoppers.org or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD. For additional information, contact Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator, at 239-477-1407 or troutte@sheriffleefl.org .