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Voluntary Disarmament Program Continues its Success

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November 22, 2013

A total of 8,570 weapons were turned over by the public between Dec. 2012 and Nov. 2013 through the 'For your family, voluntary disarmament' campaign. Officials are preparing to continue its success in 2014.

Mexico City, Mexico – A year has passed since the introduction of the "Por tu familia, desarme voluntario" - for your family, voluntary disarmament - campaign in Mexico City, and officials are preparing to continue its success in 2014.

A total of 8,570 weapons – 6,060 handguns, 1,994 shotguns, 512 grenades, one bomb, one ammunition cartridge, and two makeshift weapons – were turned over by the public between December 24, 2012 and November 8, 2013.

The government has compensated the former owners with $14,274,019 Mexican pesos (($1,078,799US,) 5,232 food baskets, 262 bicycles, 2,000 laptop computers, 10 netbooks, and 25 digital cameras.

"The purpose of this program is to generate civic awareness among the population about the danger that these guns represent in their homes," said Azucena Sánchez Méndez, Mexico City’s deputy secretary of Citizen Participation and Crime Prevention.

The program, which began on December 24, 2012 in the courtyard of the Santo Sepulcro Shrine in the southeastern Mexico City borough of Iztapalapa, also seeks to improve relations between the government and residents to prevent crime and fatal accidents, Sánchez Méndez added.

After the program has collected weapons in all of Mexico City’s 16 boroughs, officials will bring it to Mexico City’s Zócalo square in December, though no exact date has been set.

Víctor Ayala, who is the head of the program’s module on the esplanade of the San Agustín de las Cuevas Parish in the borough of Tlalpan in southern Mexico City, said officials receive an average of 40 weapons a day.

"We recommend people to bring their weapons unloaded and well-wrapped. The weapons should not be visible," he added. The weapons accepted range from .22-caliber firearms to those that are used exclusively by the Armed Forces, such as AR-15 or AK-47 rifles.

The amount of money offered to the donor ranges from $46 to $577, depending on the weapon’s caliber and condition, which is determined by the Armaments Office of the Mexico City Department of Public Safety (SSPDF.)

Following the inspection, the donor is offered a certain amount of money. If the donor accepts the offer, the weapon undergoes a second review by the National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA,) which prepares a document certifying its donation and destruction.

The reward is then paid in cash, or with a computer or food basket. The weapons are then destroyed on-site by SEDENA officials.

Ángel Sánchez, a 61-year-old taxi driver, turned in a .25 caliber pistol he had kept in his closet after it was given to him by a family member. "I found out about the program on TV and I came to turn it in because it’s no use to me," he said. "I don’t use it, so the best thing to do is to get rid of it. Plus, it’s extra money. Hopefully, everybody does the same."

Sánchez, like all donors, didn’t have to show any ID or sign any documents.

The program is being offered through a partnership between the SSPDF, SEDENA, and the Social Development Secretariat.

Original Story