HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County held its third gun buyback event Saturday morning at Deussen Park in the Summerwood neighborhood to reduce violent crime across the area.
The turnout has exceeded expectations in the past, and officials told Eyewitness News it was a good turnout again. Cars could be seen lining up at the entrance of the park three hours before the start of Saturday's event.
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This time around, officials had more staff on hand, and hosted the event at a larger location. Officials said they collected 845 firearms from the first event in Third Ward and 1,208 during the second event in Alief.
Exactly 793 guns were collected on Saturday at the third event, according to Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis.
13 Investigates look at the data from our ABC13 Neighborhood Safety Tracker to see if these gun buyback events had any impact on gun violence. It showed that since the first two events, violent crime had gone down in both Third Ward and Alief.
The first two events took place in high-crime neighborhoods, but the third is not. ABC13 asked officials about the change. Leaders said they wanted to get outside the city and into the county, where people might have more unwanted guns they're looking to get rid of.
Participants exchanged their firearms, no questions asked, for gift cards ranging in value depending on the type of gun. Ghost guns were not accepted this time around.
"Law enforcement is asking the community to join us in helping to remove unwanted guns off the streets and safely turn them in. It is more important now than ever to do all that we can to reduce potential crime and help ensure these guns remain out of the hands of those who commit crimes in our neighborhoods and businesses, " Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
READ MORE: Ghost guns eliminated from future 'No questions asked' gun buyback events in Houston
Here's how much money participants were able to get on a gift card for each item:
- Broken gun: $50
- Rifle or shotgun: $100
- Handgun: $150
- Semi-automatic rifle: $200
The program is part of One Safe Houston, which is a $45 million crime incentive. Of that money, $1 million will go toward gift cards to people who return their guns.
After the gun buyback was finished, a viewer reached out to ABC13 and said that there was a problem with the gift cards that were given out to participants.
Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis put out a statement regarding this issue:
"We are hearing reports of problems with the online gift cards issued at today's gun buyback. To all those who are having issues, please know that we share your frustration and we are working with the gift card vendor, Online Rewards, to make this right. They have informed us that this is a technical problem that is being fixed and promised that the issue will be resolved on Monday. Please redeem your gift card at that time. If you continue to have issues, contact our office at Comm_Ellis@cp1.hctx.net.
We are committed to ensuring that every person who turned in a firearm today gets compensated".
"I am grateful for the partnership with Commissioner Ellis and Sheriff Gonzalez. Some people want to diminish the impact of gun buybacks, but we know that every firearm taken off the street is a potential life saved. Gun buybacks could prevent weapons from getting into the hands of a child, preventing someone from committing domestic violence or another criminal act, or stopping someone from committing suicide. Our focus is on saving lives and reducing violence on our streets. I ask people to join the One Safe Houston initiative. By working together, we can make a difference, Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.
WATCH: Cars line up hours before 'No questions asked' gun buyback event
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