The City of East Orange Police Division collected 142 guns and gave out $23,690 in cash to participants of the August 7th “Guns for Cash” Event” held in East Orange as part of the New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck’s statewide comprehensive effort to reduce gun violence in the state. The event was held in collaboration with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and simultaneously with events in Newark, Paterson and Atlantic City.
In East Orange, anyone was able to turn in a gun, or firearm, at New Vision Full Gospel Baptist Church at 100 Warrington place and collect cash up to $250 no questions asked. Police officers and finance staff was on site to expedite the collection process.
This initiative was in timely alignment with the vision and mission of Mayor Ted R. Green, First Ward Councilwoman and Public Safety Chair Amy Lewis, and East Orange Police Chief Phyllis Bindi who have all been keenly focused on making East Orange one of the safest cities of its size and demographic in the nation. Since 2018, overall crime in East Orange has been down, year over year — a downward trend significantly impacted by fewer gun crimes.
Since last August, EOPD has taken 93 guns off the street, which brings the total to 235 guns seized or recovered in one year.
“Every gun that we are able to get out of the wrong hands and off the streets is a win for everyone,” Mayor Green. “Public safety has always been my administration’s top priority and this gun buyback program means a safer city for our residents and our officers.”
“When it comes to gun safety, it’s best to have a preventative approach rather than a reactive approach. That’s the difference in saving lives,” said Councilwoman Lewis. “Our goal is to prevent any further gun violence from occurring in our city. As the Public Safety Chairwoman for our City Council, I am proud that we are creating a safer environment for our children and for our community.”
EOPD Police Chief Phyllis Bindi said working with law enforcement partners throughout the state and effective community-oriented police strategies have contributed greatly to reducing crime in the city.
“For years, we have been working diligently with our law enforcement agencies and community partners to get illegal guns off the street,” said EOPD Police Chief Bindi. “These buyback programs are an aggressive step in the right direction and an absolutely necessary component in a broader plan to ensure the safety of the people we protect and serve.”
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy and Acting AG Bruck are leading a comprehensive, statewide effort to reduce gun deaths, which pairs the latest evidence-based policing strategies with innovative, community-based prevention programs. The three-pronged approach to tackling this public health crisis includes addressing the root causes of violence; keeping guns away from those most likely to harm others; and taking swift action against those who break the law.
The buybacks cost New Jersey taxpayers nothing, as forfeiture dollars obtained by the local police departments and county prosecutors’ offices, as well as forfeiture funds from the Division of Criminal Justice, were used.
The nearly 1,000 guns collected at the five buybacks held on August 7th were rendered inoperable by local police who staffed each event, and will be melted down.
“Simply stated, we are doing everything in our power to reduce gun violence in New Jersey, and this buyback program is a critical part of our comprehensive strategy to make our communities safer,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “Each gun we’ve collected potentially represents a life saved. I’m grateful for the collaboration and commitment of our County Prosecutors, law enforcement partners, elected officials, and community and faith-based leaders, who have joined our efforts to get these dangerous weapons off our streets and prevent unnecessary gun-related deaths.”