Residents of Camden, N.J., which has been described as the most violent city in the United States, turned in more than 1,100 guns—a city record—as part of a buy-back program since last Friday’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.
New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said this week on his office’s website that a “Guns for Cash” held on Dec. 14 and 15 at the Antioch Baptist Church and the Higher Ground Temple received 1,137 guns.
Camden Police Department spokesman Paul Loriquet told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “We heard that there were a number of gun owners on Saturday who had publicly said, in light of the situation that had just occurred in Connecticut, they wanted to turn in their weapons.”
Chiesa believes that this gun buy-back is a state record, with a total of $156,000 spent on buying the firearms back.
“I am not suggesting that gun buybacks are some sort of magic solution to the complex and multi-faceted problem of violence in our society,” he said, according to his website. “But we have to keep forging ahead using all of the strategies at our disposal. And while we’re at it, we have to keep thinking about new strategies as well.”
Camden, with a population of nearly 80,000 and located east of Philadelphia, has been plagued recently with crime and urban decay.
In 2012, its murder rate spiked to 62 per 100,000 people, far above the national average, beating cities such as Detroit, Oakland, St. Louis, and New Orleans.
Morgan Quitno Press, a research and publishing company that publishes books on state rankings including crime statistics, dubbed Camden the “most dangerous” cites in 2012, according to its most recent update.
Since 1998, Morgan Quitno has ranked Camden in the top-10 most dangerous cities each year.
In regard to the recent buy-back, Chiesa said, “We’ve taken more than a thousand firearms out of circulation here in Camden and throughout Camden County. The results of our buyback are collected here before you, and I’d submit that it was well worth the effort.”
“We aren’t going to simply throw up our hands and say the gun violence problem is too big,” he said. “We’re going to act. We’re going to innovate. And, working together, we’re going to continue to do everything in our power to make communities safer by getting guns off the streets.”
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