#JusticeinPimaCounty: Week 62
The community outreach by our staff at The People’s Office has many benefits.
- It develops and maintains important relationships.
- It provides boots that help clean up the community.
- It lets people know about programs and initiatives designed to make our county a safer place to live.
But last weekend, we did a pair of events that promise to make Pima County safer in a very real, very important way.
At the Pima County Resource Fair and the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, we handed out approximately 1,700 free gun locks that will make homes and other places safer for gun owners, their families and their friends.
My outreach coordinator, Patrick Robles, and I attended the resource fair at Freedom Park, an event attended by more than 600 people in the first hour alone. We gifted 100 gun locks to so many moms, aunts, cousins, girlfriends and brothers with meaningful conversations about giving them to loved ones with a message of love and the desire for them to be safe.
The tears we saw while doing this made clear how impactful this program is.
Babette McDonald, director of Pima County’s 88-CRIME silent witness program, and Fabian Pacheco, chief of detectives here at PCAO, staffed the gun show at the Pima County Fairgrounds. The response at that event was more than gratifying.
“It was the first time we have done this at a gun show,” Babette said. “We greeted people entering the hall and asked if they wanted gun locks. About 20 percent said to me “What good is my gun if I lock it up?’ But I also had people tell me ‘This is great! I have 40 guns at home and don’t have any locks.’”
While no one walked away with 40 free locks, Babette and Fabian handed out 1,600 of the cable locks during the weekend show.
“I think that when somebody receives a gun lock, they intend to use it or to give it to someone who can use it,’ she said. “I believe they are being utilized.”
It’s through a program called CARGO (Communities Addressing Responsible Gun Ownership) and the “Save a Life Gun Safety Program” that PCAO is able to provide free gun locks to the community. The locks are purchased at a reduced bulk rate using funds generated through seizure of assets from criminal racketeering enterprises.
The gun lock program is a perfect fit for our partners at 88-CRIME, who serve the community by receiving anonymous tips that can help law enforcement solve crimes – with so many of those crimes involving firearms. Additional kudos to Candace Calhoun and Raquel Leon of 88-CRIME for helping to repurpose existing gun safety handouts by adding PCAO stickers to those and to all the gun locks that go out to the community – more than 7,000 in the last eight months alone!
To be continued…