06/04/2015 03:37 EDT | Updated 06/04/2016 05:59 EDT

Cash for guns police campaign offers B.C. tipsters up to $2,000

Crime Stoppers and Lower Mainland police forces have launched a Cash for Guns program, offering cash rewards of up to $2,000 to anyone with tips leading to the seizure of illegal guns.

"Violent crime involving illegal guns is increasing at an alarming rate," said Linda Annis, Executive Director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.

"People may personally know individuals with these guns, but because they're close, they may think it's too risky to speak out and do something about it."

Crime Stoppers is working with the Vancouver Police, RCMP and other local police forces in hopes of getting 500 or more illegal guns off the streets in the next year.

"Within Vancouver we have seen an increase in the number of illegal guns... both within the city limits and the Metro region as a whole," said Vancouver Police Supt. Daryl Wiebe.

Police say many illegal guns come from across the border. Canada Border Services Agency officers found a 38 per cent increase in the number of firearms seized in the Pacific Region between 2010 and 2014.

Ads for the Cash for Guns campaign will be seen on more than 300 billboards and bus shelters around Metro Vancouver, and will be shown during pre-show advertisements at local movie theatres.

"The caller's motivation doesn't matter. All we want is the anonymous tip as to who has the guns, and how police might find how it might be found and seize them," said Annis.

Anyone with information about an illegal weapon can leave a tip as follows:

- using the Crime Stoppers iOS app or the Android app

- contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or

- follow the link on the Crime Stoppers Facebook page

- text a message to CRIMES (274637)