Name: Sheriff Ron Hickman and Chief Deputy Tim Cannon
Department: Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston, Texas
How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?
We have the opportunity to distribute PCS locks at the station and at events, such as town hall events and community activities in local schools. Unfortunately, our community has seen an increase in gun accidents recently, so we try to be as vigilant as we can to make sure our community members understand that these resources are available.
We always appreciate the opportunity to talk about the importance of gun safety with our community service group so everyone knows that these locks are here and that gun safety is crucial.
Why does the Harris County Sheriff’s Office partner with Project ChildSafe?
As the third largest Sheriff’s office in the country, we started our partnership with Project ChildSafe when we realized the tremendous advantage and asset these resources can be for our neighbors. It is rare to find free resources that can make such a big impact. We are always looking for ways to make the community safe, and working with Project ChildSafe is a huge opportunity to do so.
How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?
There is a large segment of our community that might not be able to afford to go out and buy a gun lock or gun safe. Because of our partnership with PCS, we are able to provide these locks at the station, and at community events, to those who have an interest. When we distribute the locks, we also have an opportunity to talk to community members about gun safety.
While it is hard to directly measure the impact in our community, I know Project ChildSafe has distributed over 37 million locks with 15,000 law enforcement partners, so that is a big impact all on its own.
How can residents in your in community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of gun safety?
Social media doesn’t cost a thing, and it has a big reach. If more people would share information about this program and the fact that these locks are available, it could be a huge help.
In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?
There are a number of things people can do to ensure that safety is woven into the fabric of their daily lives:
- Make sure the exterior of your home is well lighted
- Keep your shrubs and bushes to a reasonable height
- Double check that you are locking windows, in addition to doors
- Alarms in both your home and car can prevent many crimes
Generally, it is important to keep safety top of mind. It should not be an afterthought. In addition, many communities offer a law enforcement security assessment through which they will determine any vulnerabilities in your home security setup and design.