DES MOINES, Iowa -- In May, city officials, in conjunction with business leaders and the police department, launched a cash incentive program to generate helpful information from the community that would help solve homicides and other crimes.
At the time, there had been 15 homicides so far in the year. Now, that count is at 24. While the cash incentive program hasn't yet helped close any cases, police say it has generated leads.
"A lot of people probably don't want to talk because then maybe they'll be labeled as a tattletale," said DJ Hyphy. "Or maybe they'll fear for their life if they talk or whatever."
Hyphy thinks people need to be braver and come forward with information when they know something.
"Just think, how would you feel if you lost a loved one or whatever and someone knew something about it and they're just not gonna talk about it, and so your loved one's life is just lost and there's gonna be no information about that?" said Hyphy. "How would you feel?"
Hyphy knows how it feels to lose a loved one to violence.
"I just lost my cousin a couple weeks ago," said Hyphy. "His name was Preston Davis. He got stabbed and what not, but we know who did that."
Hyphy supports the idea of the Des Moines Police Department giving out money in exchange for information.
"If there's murders going on and nobody's talking, if they feel like that's what they've got to do to get people to talk, then so be it."
Sergeant Paul Parizek says detectives have been selective about how they've distributed the money, but adds that if the information is legitimate, money will be handed out.
“You give us good information, we’re gonna determine what it’s worth and we’re gonna be fair about it," said Sgt. Parizek. "If you close one of these big cases that we have, you’re gonna probably get a pretty penny.”
Sgt. Parizek says even short of that, if someone helps put police on the right path, it might be worth that individual's time to stop in at the department.
"We've got a dry erase board in the Detective Bureau," said Sgt. Parizek. "On that board, there's columns. One of those columns is 'suspect.' Now, you might have an open case listed in red ink on the left and then in that suspect column, there's a name there, so we know, we got a really good idea who some of these suspects are. It's just getting that last piece of the puzzle to close the case and put them in jail. That's what this money's there for."