Local News

Raleigh Billboards To Warn Armed Criminals

Posted September 4, 2001 1:46 a.m. EDT

— The city of Raleigh is cracking down on criminals who use guns.

City leaders and law enforcement officers unveiled billboards Tuesday that they will use to advertise the "Targeting Raleigh's Armed Criminals" or TRAC program. TRAC allows criminals who use guns to be charged under strict federal laws that carry serious prison time.

"That message is you're leaving the city of Raleigh if you use a firearm in the commission of a felony," says Raleigh mayor Paul Coble.

The billboards are going up at six locations around the city.

During the first eight months of the program, law officers seized 350 guns and used the TRAC program to charge 60 criminals. Gerald Bass is one example of what the program can do.

Bass was arrested 50 times in five years. Under the TRAC program, he was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison.

City leaders and law enforcement officers say the numbers prove the TRAC program is working in Raleigh. There is no telling how many crimes might have been committed with the guns they have seized, but they predict that in the next year, Raleigh residents will see a dramatic drop in the number of crimes that involve guns.