The compelling theme of “Got a gun? Get a lock” is resonating with many people who are requesting gun locks—no questions asked—from the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City & County.

“It’s great that we are getting this kind of response,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams. “The number one reason we have joined with City Council President Darrell Clarke and the District Attorney’s office is to get ANY gun in a household securely locked for safety reasons”.

Since the gun lock campaign kicked off at Temple University earlier this month, there have been several events, including a peace march in conjunction with Deliverance Evangelistic Church at 23rd & Lehigh Avenue, in which the sheriff and other elected officials literally handed out gun locks themselves.”

“It’s important that the people see leadership in a leadership role,” said Councilman Clarke recently on the “The Roundup,” the monthly radio show hosted by Sheriff Williams on WURD.

To receive a gun lock, you can either pick one up at the front desk of the sheriff’s office on the 5th Floor of 100 S. Broad street between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or call our hotline number at 215-686-3572. Leave your name, number and address and someone from the sheriff’s office will quickly be in touch with you.

“We transport more than 500 people per day back and forth between the courts and the prisons,” said Sheriff Williams, “and many are charged with crimes involving guns. Before anger gets to a point of reaching for a gun, if that gun is in a lock, it provides at least a few seconds for an individual to change their mind about firing that weapon, and makes it almost impossible to fire if found, and handled by a child. Got a gun—get a lock”.

A bill was recently enacted by City Council entitled the “Responsibility to Avoid Possession and Discharge of Firearms by Children” act (introduced by Council President Clarke) that requires all firearms in homes with children under the age of 18 to be kept unloaded and stored in a locked container, with the ammunition in a separate locked container. The exception would be when the firearm or ammunition is in the "immediate control" of a person with a license to carry a gun.

Got a gun—get a lock.

That was the prevailing message given by Sheriff Jewell Williams today at a press conference at Temple University Hospital to announce the coming together of several entities pushing for the use of gun locks, and stressing how even a few seconds between pulling the trigger and thinking about it can possibly save a life.

The press conference was held at the Ontario East Lobby of Temple University Hospital, literally just yards from the emergency ward and trauma center where so many of the victims of gun violence are treated in Philadelphia.

“We transport more than 500 people per day back and forth between the courts and the prisons,” said Sheriff Williams, “and many are charged with crimes involving guns.  Before anger gets to a point of reaching for a gun, if that gun is in a lock, it provides at least a few seconds an individual may change their mind about firing that weapon, and makes it almost impossible to fire if found, and handled by a child. Got a gun—get a lock”.

Sheriff Williams stood with City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, City Council Public Safety Chair Curtis Jones, Jr., District Attorney Seth Williams, Scott Charles of the Cradle to Grave Program, Temple University’s Dr. Amy Goldberg, Shira Goodman of CeaseFire PA, Dorothy Johnson Speight of Mothers in Charge, and Bilal Quayyum of the Father’s Day Rally Committee in calling for more awareness of gun safety.

“This hospital (Temple University),” is ground zero for trauma patients,” said City Council President Clarke.  “It is the place where so many people come after being shot”.

  A bill was recently enacted by City Council entitled the “Responsibility to Avoid Possession and Discharge of Firearms by Children” act (introduced by Council President Clarke) that requires all firearms in homes with children under the age of 18 to be kept unloaded and stored in a locked container, with the ammunition in a separate locked container. The exception would be when the firearm or ammunition is in the "immediate control" of a person with a license to carry a gun.

Meanwhile, free gun locks will be passed today by the Office of the Sheriff of Philadelphia City & County as part of its National Night Out kickoff initiative, at Fair Hill Square Park, 4th Street and Lehigh Avenue from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and at the Rose Playground, 75th and Lansdowne Avenue from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Free gun locks will also be passed out on August 2nd at:

  • 32nd and Cumberland Streets from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
  • 53rd and Parkside Avenue from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 2300 N. 17th Street from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. 

National Night Out is one of my favorite community events.

 This year it has taken on a deeper meaning as neighborhoods across the country join local law enforcement and politicians in conveying a message of unity to promote safety and awareness as major crime fighters.

Considering the recent tumultuous events in Texas, Minnesota and Louisiana, one can easily become cynical and place little faith in the notion that communities and law enforcement officers charged with protecting them, are so far apart they will never come together.

In Philadelphia, however, National Night Out is both serious and festive as sheriff officers, and local and state police alike all participate in an evening of information sharing, shaking hands, music, food and genuinely enjoying the moment.

I expect to see the same on August 2nd as I and several of my officers go from one community event to another on narrow streets, parks, and recreation centers to celebrate and recognize that we are all in this together.

Dwight Eisenhower once said that: “This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

As we all pause, and rightly so, to reflect on what is currently happening in our nation, let’s also not forget the struggles and challenges we’ve overcome as a people to get to this point.

No, I don’t expect a tsunami of warmth and forgiveness to flow over the country on August 2nd, but I do anticipate the purpose, dedication, and focus hat comes with National Night Out to be a buttress for the hope and optimism that is the essence of the event.

So, please join me in volunteering some of your time on August 2nd to sit with your neighbors, mingle with local law enforcement, and have conversations that bring us all forward with understanding and patience.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the John F. Hartranft Elementary School to sponsor a Read-A-Thon with Kindergarten to 3rdgraders as part of the Right Books Campaign for the Philadelphia School System.

I was joined by several Deputy Sheriffs and non-uniformed employees who believe as I do that reading is one of the most important literacy tools in our arsenal. Protecting our children and educating them are two of their basic and deserved rights.

Reading not only allows our young people to compete in the classroom and years beyond but can help them explore worlds unknown. Through books they can discover fantasy, experience travel, and insights about the people that have made history in the worlds of science, space exploration, sports and music.

The three R’s was the mantra when I was growing up. I remember we had lots of books to select from. Today too many of our classrooms and schools have no libraries or books which is what brought us to Hartranft School.

We want to see a library in each K thru 3 grade classroom in Philly schools with properly trained comprehensive literacy trained teachers to make sure our kids get that boost when they need it most. And I encourage every parent, grandparent, older sister or brother, caretaker or special person to pick up a book and sit and share the magic of words with your loved little ones.

Wishing you a safe Memorial Day Holiday and let it be the beginning of a Summer of Peace,

The Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff is proud to launch a redesign of our very popular website. The site hosts on average about 800 visitors every day, with a total of 370,000 unique users since the site was launched in 2013. Users are able to get detailed information about properties sold at Sheriff Sale, sign up for seminars to learn how the Sheriff Sale process works, determine if a deed has been filed on a property, and calculate the legal fees necessary to have a Deputy Sheriff serve a court order. We have even provided a video about how to purchase a property at a Sheriff Sale that has been viewed by almost 17,000 people in the past 18 months.

Responsive Design

Today we are proud to re-launch our website designed in a way to make it even easier for citizens to get the information they are seeking. The site has been redesigned with a responsive format to provide a seamless experience across all devices, making it easier and more fun to explore on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.

Comprehensive Search

We have also added a comprehensive search engine to the site to more easily find content throughout the site. The site is offered in English and Spanish (the two most used languages by our users according to online analytics).

New Web App Features

We are excited to add new features to our most popular section of the site: The Sheriff Sale App, which allows users to easily search for information about properties being sold as Sheriff Sale. The new features will allow a user to:

  • Search for properties by zip code or ward
  • View a sale history for each property to see which auctions it has been listed on in the past, and whether it is scheduled to be sold in the future
  • View a list of liabilities owed on the property to get a better understanding of the outstanding obligations due on the property
  • Download even more information as a spreadsheet, including the liabilities, to perform custom analysis
  • More easily use the app on a handheld devise like a tablet or smartphone
  • Keep track of the properties already viewed by changing the color of the pin icon representing each property
  • View additional information about the result of an auction, including the sale date a property has been postponed too

More to Come!

The Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff is committed to providing full transparency by offering as much information as possible online in a way that is easy to access. We look forward to continuing to innovate the way we communicate with the public online.

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Sheriff Jewell Williams attends first City Council meeting of 2016 called to order by City Council President Darrell Clarke. Deputies from the Office of the Philadelphia Sheriff are on duty guarding all attending the Council meetings.

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams takes the Pledge against Domestic Violence at the 8th Annual iPLEDGE press conference on Thursday, October 8 in Love Park hosted by Women Against Abuse.

"I Pledge to raise my voice against violence," said Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes (center at podium) and Sheriff Jewell Williams (to right of Hughes) along with hundreds of participants.

Also participating:  Councilwoman Marion Tasco (right of Williams), Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez (left of Senator Hughes) and newly elected State Represenative Jooanna McClinton to right of Quinones Sanchez.