Hope event will reduce rising no. of shootings in New York City
The NYPD and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez will be hosting a gun buyback event in Flatbush within the 67th Precinct Saturday, Jan. 15, as part of a drive to help reduce violence by taking guns off the streets.
Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced that the program will take place at Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church, 3114 Glenwood Road. The Rev. Melvin D. Boone and the 67th Precinct Clergy Council, also known as the GodSquad, are additional partners in hosting the event.
“These programs rely upon both the continued collaboration of residents who participate and the commitment of the department’s prosecutorial partners,” Sewell said. “The NYPD encourages everyone to please take part in this effort, which is another example of our work together to keep one another safe.”
According to the New York Post, the NYPD recorded 1,562 incidents of gun violence with 1,877 victims in 2021. This represents a 101 percent and 103 percent increase, respectively, over 2019, before the pandemic.
In September 2020, Gonzalez and the NYPD hosted a gun buyback event at St. Paul Community Baptist Church East New York, and 33 guns were turned in.
Then, in January 2021, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Gonzalez and the NYPD had 48 firearms turned in to law enforcement at another gun buyback at Bethesda Healing Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Gonzalez, who has hosted several gun buyback events, said that people who turn in their firearms would receive an iPad and a $200 bank card. The iPads are available to attendees on a first-come, first-served basis and are given out one per person.
Participants will receive $25 for operable rifles, shotguns and air guns. Unlimited numbers of guns can be turned in, but participants can only receive a maximum of $600 in bank cards.
“My office has been employing a multi-pronged strategy to bring down the levels of gun violence in Brooklyn, focusing on the most violent individuals and building strong community partnerships,” the district attorney said.
“Saturday’s gun buyback event will provide an opportunity for everyone to turn in a firearm and receive cash and an iPad — a simple action that can help reduce the number of lethal weapons on our streets. I encourage anyone who is in possession of a gun or rifle, or knows of someone who is, to come out, get some money and help make Brooklyn safer,” he added.
The exchanges made will be anonymous, and no questions will be asked. Attendees must unload guns and put them in a paper or plastic bag or a box when bringing them to the event.
If the guns are transported by car, they must be kept in the trunk. Both working and inoperable weapons will be accepted.
“Guns are our number one public enemy. Let us get them off the streets,” said Pastor Edward-Richard Hinds, executive director of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council/The GodSquad. “Public safety is a shared responsibility, and so, as the clergy leaders in East Flatbush host the gun buyback program in one of our churches, we remain committed to creating programs to reduce gun violence, offer resources for our youth and ultimately create safer communities for all.”
“There is much work to be done to improve the safety and quality of life in minority communities,” Boone added. “It will take a concerted effort from law enforcement, community members and organizations to bring about real and lasting change. At Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church, we choose mutual respect and cooperation over confrontation.”