DENVER (KDVR) — A new billboard on Federal Boulevard in southwest Denver is taking aim at youth gun violence in the area.
Two area youth groups, Denver Teen Empowerment and Southwest Vida, partnered with the Denver Police Department to put the billboard up. Members gathered at the site Monday.
“In this neighborhood, you regularly hear gunshots,” Sayuri Toribio said. It’s an issue she said young people live with daily.
“You don’t know if you are even safe at school, you’re safe at the park,” Greg Rodriguez said. “It’s just an issue that is there all the time,” he said.
The billboard says, “Easy to obtain, hard to deal with,” and it shows a teddy bear, a gun and a white coffin.
“The teddy bear and the gun don’t go together, you know, and it’s not something that should be normalized,” said Yamilette Bravo, a teen who lost a friend to gun violence this year.
Chief: 85-87% of Denver murders committed with guns
She hopes the shocking imagery will get people talking, and so does Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen.
“I think it’s very powerful,” the chief said as he met with the group of young people. “We’re at 58 murders for the year, and we hover between 85 and 87% of those murders committed with firearms. Typically, it’s illegal guns,” Pazen said.
Denver Councilwoman Jamie Torres said she is proud of the young people who worked on the billboard and hopes it raises awareness.
“We are blocks from where people have been killed,” Torres said. “I think our young people are really just tired of it, just as much as we are,” she said.
The billboard is written in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, three prevalent languages in the area.