This past weekend saw the first gun buy-back program of the year at the Bedford Central Presbyterian Church in Crown Heights.
108 weapons were relinquished to the New York Police Department, including 61 revolvers, 29 semi-automatics, 2 shotguns, 3 rifles and several others. Some of the firearms were armed.
The program has helped remove 7,600 guns from the streets of Brooklyn since its inception in 2008, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has stated that the borough is safer. He even has the statistics to back up his claim. Explaining that 2011’s homicide rate was the lowest since 1963, Kelly said there were 195 murders in total last year. There was not a single murder in the 78th Precinct, which includes Park Slope, and there have been no murders in 2012 so far.
Kelly acknowledged “critical support from District Attorney Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn clergy and borough residents,” without which the program would not progress, or reveal such optimistic results.
“Murders in Brooklyn fell to below 200, to 195, for the first time in nearly half a century in part because of concerted efforts to get guns off the streets in partnerships like these,” Commissioner Kelly said.