MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Officials within Mount Vernon and the Westchester County Crime Stoppers are enjoying unbridled enthusiasm as their partnership with Best Buy continues with less than two weeks before a citywide gun buyback program.
For weeks, anyone purchasing $5, $25, or $50 gift cards at the Best Buy location on Sandford Boulevard has been entered into a raffle for a 55-inch curved television. The fundraiser will continue to promote the gun buyback until Friday, April 10, the day before the program
A $5 gift card nets one ticket, six for a $25 card and those investing $50 will get 15 tickets. Derickson Lawrence, chair of Crime Stoppers, said by teaming with Best Buy, the entire county can have an opportunity to save a life by supporting the buyback.
“The partnership allows Best Buy to bring forward what is an incentive for residents across our county to participate (in the gun buyback),” he said. “For five dollars, you have a chance to take home (the television set), and you have the opportunity to save a life.”
Last month, the Crime Stoppers announced it was teaming with the Mount Vernon Police Department to host the gun buyback, which will permit gun owners to anonymously exchange their firearms for hundreds of dollars in gift cards, no questions asked.
"We’ve been working hard to improve the quality of life for residents in Mount Vernon,” Mayor Ernest Davis said when announcing the initiative. “This gun buyback will hopefully help us get some weapons off our streets.”
Only operational guns can be redeemed, and they will be tested on site. Handguns will merit $200 each, rifles and shotguns will net $100 apiece, while assault rifles are worth $500. High-capacity magazines can be returned for $20 each, with a maximum buyback of $500.
“At a time where we see visible rifts between police and the community in pockets across our nation, on behalf of the Westchester County Crime Stoppers Organization, it is a privilege to attempt to engage the community and police to come together, to work together and to mitigate crime,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence said part of the Crime Stoppers’ mission was to help local communities create cohesion between the police and the people they are tasked with protecting. He added the buyback was just part of a much larger mission of the organization.
“This is a great opportunity to get the police, the community at large, and local officials to come together,” Lawrence said. “Really, it’s about engaging the community. We will have members of the police force there, as well as student volunteers from around the county.”
There will be another fundraiser supporting the buyback from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 2 at the Afro American Club on East 3rd Street. All donations are tax-deductible.
The buyback will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 11 at the Doles Community Center. Those looking to support the “Turn in a Gun; Get Paid; Save Lives” initiative can send donations to the Westchester County Crime Stoppers, PO Box 243, Bronxville NY 10743.
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