People at risk of becoming involved in crimes including armed robbery, drug trafficking, burglary and petty theft were among the 72 who handed in 25 weapons including homemade guns as well as knives, significant quantities of drugs and home brewing gear in a series of surrender ceremonies within Popondetta recently. The weapons, drugs and equipment were collected by police for disposal and destruction.
The community-initiated surrender ceremonies were held at the Simbu, Niugini and Marimari Street settlements in Popondetta and the Soputa settlement in Oro Bay. The ceremonies followed work to promote drug and alcohol awareness and strengthen partnerships and networks within the local law and justice sector and in the broader community.
Pastor Silas Eriba, a volunteer juvenile justice worker involved in the ceremonies, said the ceremonies were a sign of the success of local initiatives to combat crime and promote safer communities.
“Since we began raising awareness on law and justice issues with the support of the JSS4D [Justice Services and Stability for Development] we are seeing changes within the communities,” Pastor Eriba commented.
This initiative was supported by the Australian government through the Justice Services and Stability for Development Program.