Crime statistics in Prince George's County tell a chilling story. In 2007, more than 400 crimes involved guns. Now, the county is using a cash incentive to end it.
"We're actually giving individuals the opportunity to turn in weapons, functional or not functional, for gift cards. These gift cards can be up to 100 dollars," explains Sgt. Sonya Rorls, with Prince George's County police.
Next week, police plan to unveil the "Gift Cards for Guns" program.
The department is inviting anyone in possession of a gun to drop it off, no questions asked, in exchange for a general gift card.
Rorls says, "We just want people to know that we're not going after anyone. We're just trying to get guns off the street.'
A recent study shows in a 20 year span, countywide violent crime incidents jumped by more than 2,000. Local leaders call the statistic heartbreaking.
Reverend Kathy Hlatshwayo adds, "I, as a pastor who has worked in the Suitland area for 9 and a half years, have seen multiple killings and multiple burials of young people, and it's devastating."
Similar cash incentive programs have worked in Baltimore. Last year, two Baltimore churches ran gun buy backs, taking hundreds of weapons off the street.
"It's anonymous. Just turn in the weapons, get your 100 gift card, and be done with it," Rorls continues.
The program will be held June 4 at the Prince George's County Police Services Complex on Barlowe Road, beginning at 10 a.m. Another will be held Saturday, June 9 at 6804 Sheriff Road in Landover, Md. from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m,