A new Baltimore City program is offering $100 gift certificate to Klein’s ShopRite in exchange for guns, no questions asked.
City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced the new program on Wednesday morning. Residents will be able to exchange the firearms in exchange for certificates between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Saturday at the Coldstream Homestead Montebello Community Corporation’s headquarters on the campus of City College High School, according to a news release.
"We have made tremendous strides in reducing gun-related crimes in Baltimore, but we still have a long way to go," Young said in the release. "This new partnership between my office and Klein’s ShopRite is a great example of a public-private partnership helping to strengthen the community."
After posting one of the lowest homicide numbers in more than 20 years in 2011, the number has crept back up in 2012. Homicides this year are already 11 percent higher than all of last year, although the number of shootings citywide is down 1 percent.
The Northern District, generally one of the quieter areas of the city, has experienced a sharp bump in violent crime. According to the latest Comstat data, homicides are in the district year to date are up by 85 percent and shootings are up 30 percent.
Maj. Sabrina Tapp-Harper said earlier this month that the crime spike can be attributed to gang activity from the Black Guerrilla Family and the Bloods in the area.
Police officers will be on hand at the school to collect the guns and representatives from ShopRite and UpLift Solutions will be there to distribute gift certificates.
"Violence in our communities makes any positive strides more challenging and affects us all," Marshal Klein, director of operations, said. "The ‘Goods for Guns’ program creates a tremendous opportunity to help the communities that we are committed to."
The closest ShopRite to North Baltimore straddles the city line between Parkville in the county and the city in the northeast.