Newly elected Mayor Marcelo Ebrard has moved quickly to restore order to Mexico City by going after well-known crime dens and clearing the city's narrow streets of informal vendors. Police who have raided the capital's neighbourhoods in a push against drug violence hope to take guns off the streets by offering a trade-in deal. The program launched yesterday in Tepito, a warren of scruffy homes and market stalls a few blocks north of the capital's main square, which police stormed last month. The city promised to protect the anonymity of those who hand over the guns, which will be destroyed by the army.
City police chief Joel Ortega said anyone who turns in a high-calibre weapon (think machine gun) will get a computer. Owners can also swap smaller guns for cash or Microsoft Corporation's Xbox video-game consoles. Organizers say they have 100 computers ready for the first wave of the program, each worth 8,500 pesos (390 pounds) and equipped with software donated by Microsoft. On the first day, Olayo said the city received 17 guns, including 12 from Tepito. If successful, the program will be extended to Iztapalapa, another area targeted by police where last week 800 officers expropriated a six-block neighbourhood filled with stores selling parts torn from stolen cars.