BUFFALO—( release / WKBW ) Mayor Byron W. Brown told Eyewitness News his Administration’s fourth “No Questions Asked” Gun BuyBack Program was a success.
Close to 600 guns were accepted on Saturday, May 14, 2011 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at seven drop-off sites across Buffalo.
“Since 2005, we have removed 7,002 illegal guns from our city streets,” said Mayor Brown. “Over 2,000 of those weapons have been seized through the Gun BuyBack program.
We have coordinated with the Buffalo Police Department successfully three times previously, and again we encourage city residents to come forward in a safe and confidential setting. In 2007, when I launched the first Gun BuyBack, critics said that it would be ineffective, however the results from the three buybacks have proven otherwise. I am confident that law abiding Buffalo residents will once again help us to remove guns from our city streets.”
According to the City Comptroller’s office, the past three gun buyback efforts have yielded a total of 2,312 guns turned in by city residents. Participants have received over $100,000 through JPMorgan Chase cash cards, distributed at each drop-off location.
This initiative is one of several anti-crime measures being implemented throughout the city, including adding more police officers, establishing a new housing police unit, increasing foot and bicycle patrols, implementing a new Violent Crime Task Force and expanding the highly successful surveillance camera system.
In 2005, the Buffalo Police Department removed 923 illegal guns from city streets. Since then the Department has removed 1,061 in 2006, 1,801 in 2007, 1,597 in 2008, 1,205 in 2009, 859 in 2010 and 200 through March 2011.
“I want to thank Buffalo residents for their participation in our past Gun BuyBack programs, and encourage them to continue their involvement in ridding our streets of illegal weapons,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda. “This year’s Gun BuyBack is will absolutely help in our efforts to reduce the overall crime rate in the City of Buffalo.”
Rick Calipari, Investment and Debt Management Officer, and Darryl McPherson, City Auditor, assisted financial and auditing sides of the gun buyback program to make sure that all of the guns and money are accounted for and that JPMorgan cash cards are distributed effectively.
As in past years, the goals for this program are:
· To provide safer neighborhoods throughout the City of Buffalo
· To support Mayor Brown’s Zero Tolerance Law Enforcement Agenda
· To instill a sense of confident and safety among the city’s law abiding residents.
“I know that this single Gun BuyBack effort will not eliminate the illegal weapons on our city streets. However, this program will be an opportunity for residents to turn in guns that they would like to remove from their homes,” said Mayor Brown. “This is part of a larger initiative by my Administration to lower crime in our city.”
To help promote the May 14th Gun BuyBack effort, Lamar Outdoor Advertising generously provided creative design support along with outdoor advertising locations throughout the city to post billboards that raise awareness about the program.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has agreed to post the City of Buffalo’s Gun BuyBack advertisement posters (the same as the Lamar Outdoor Advertising billboards) inside bus shelters based on availability of space.
The overall Gun BuyBack effort is financed by asset forfeiture funds that have been acquired by the city through the seizure of monies from illegal drug and other criminal activities in Buffalo.
On May 14, 2011, the City of Buffalo’s Gun BuyBack took place at the following locations:
Church of the Good Shepherd 96 Jewett Parkway
Assembly of Christian Churches 164 Forest Avenue
Primera United Methodist Church 62 Virginia Street
St. Thomas Aquinas Church 450 Abbott Road
True Bethel Baptist Church 907 East Ferry Street
St. John Baptist Church 184 Goodell Street
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Parish Hall 256 Riverside Avenue
“I want to thank these faith-based organizations and their respective pastors for participating in the Gun BuyBack program for another year,” said Mayor Brown. “I commend their commitment to the safety of our city. My Administration has been committed to improving safety and quality of life, and I will continue to support law enforcement initiatives that will make Buffalo an excellent place to live, work and raise a family.”
Pre-paid bank cash cards were provided, no questions asked, in the following denominations:
$10.00 Non-working or antique guns (including BB guns and pellet guns)
$100.00 Assault Weapons (e.g., Uzis AK-47s)
“This program is vital for the safety and quality of life of Buffalo residents,” said Mayor Brown. “This is an opportunity to get guns out of homes in the city, out of harm’s way and into a safe and secure location. It is extremely important that citizens participate in eradicating these very lethal and potentially dangerous illegal weapons.
Through the Buffalo Police Department’s enforcement of Mayor Brown’s Zero Tolerance anti-crime agenda, overall crime in the city has been reduced by approximately 11.4% since Mayor Brown has taken office. Violent crime has decreased by 8% in the last year.