Usually when Chicago police officers confiscate firearms, they don't exchange them for prizes. But that's exactly what will happen on June 23, when the city will accept guns, no questions asked, and dole out rewards in the hopes of reducing the number of weapons on Chicago's streets.
“The streets of Chicago belong to its residents and we are working every day to get guns, drugs and gangs off the streets,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a news release. “Working with the faith-based community, [the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy], Police and our media partners to engage the community; we can reduce the number of guns on our streets.”
Organized by the city, the CPD, and faith- and community-based nonviolence organizations across the city, the Gun Turn-In event will be held simultaneously at 23 churches between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the city. Firearms can be turned in for a $100 MasterCard gift card, and replica and BB-guns will be accepted in exchange for a $10 gift card.
During a similar effort in 2007, more than 6,700 guns were turned in, Fox Chicago reports, setting a national record.
In the last 6 years, Gun Turn-Ins across the city have recovered over 23,000 guns, according to the city.
The initiative follows a spike in violent crime across the city as temperatures rise. Last weekend at least 29 people were wounded, and three people, including a 16-year-old, were killed by gun violence.
Over the Memorial Day holiday the weekend before, 10 people were killed and more than 40 people were wounded in shootings citywide. Homicides in the city so far this year are up nearly 50 percent compared to 2011.