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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gun "Buy-Back" Program Coming to the Bronx


In February, 919 guns were collected during a gun “buy-back” day in Queens. Now the program, a joint effort between the NYPD, district attorneys, and local churches, is heading to the Bronx.

Police say it’ll be held on Saturday, April 25, although a spokesman for the Bronx DA’s Office said nothing had been finalized.

According to a detective I spoke with, organizers are in the process of picking out several churches in high crime precincts, including the 40th Precinct (which includes Mott Haven), the 44th Precinct (which includes Highbridge), and the 46th Precinct (which includes Mount Hope and Morris Heights). Nearer the time, fliers will be posted in the targeted neighborhoods encouraging gun owners to drop off their weapon at a given church in return for a $200 debit card – no questions asked.

Since the program was launched last summer, a handful of "buy-back" days have yeilded 3,500 weapons. Compare this to the hundred or so guns a precinct such as the Four-Six seizes each year, and you get an idea how effective the program is at getting guns off the street.

And yet, despite these impressive figures, there's some debate over whether or not these types of programs do what they're supposed to do: cut gun crime. See here and here for opposing views.

(Pictured above are photographs of several guns seized by the 46th Precinct in 2008. Photo by James Fergusson)


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