Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg joined law enforcement and community partners Feb. 16 to announce her office will give away free gun safes for individuals to use at home and in their vehicles as part of a larger campaign to promote gun safety.

“Safely storing firearms is critical to keep them from falling into the hands of criminals or our children,” Ogg said at a news conference hosted by Congregation Beth Israel.

The message of gun safety is being spread to locals through traditional and digital billboards on freeways and close to neighborhoods in both English and Spanish as well as through the website www.houstongunsafety.org and gun safety classes. The digital billboards will be in place through 2023.

In Harris County, 63 individuals were killed in the first 45 days of this year, many of them by firearms, Ogg said.

She also mentioned houses of worship had been broken into.

The district attorney and other speakers said weapons are taken from cars in the area “at an alarming rate.”

“If you can’t afford a gun safe for your car, we’ve got one for you,” Ogg said. “Lock up your guns. Together we can do this. It is preventable.”

Last year, the Houston Police Department recorded a record high of 4,401 guns reported stolen from vehicles, county officials said in a news release. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported guns are the leading cause of death nationwide for children under age 18, and 4.6 million children in the U.S. live in a home with at least one loaded, unlocked gun, according to a Harris County DA news release.

Ogg credited Academy Sports + Outdoors for partnering on the latest initiative and thanked Houston City Council Member Edward Pollard for providing funding for the first 1,000 safes.

Survivor Marentha Sargent stressed the need to prevent gun violence tragedies, while Houston City Council Member Abbie Kamin promoted the cooperative approach to restricting easy access to weapons.

Partners of the district attorney’s office include Congregation Beth Israel and the Minaret Foundation; the Houston Police Department; Harris County Sheriff’s Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Houston branch of the FBI; the Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's office; Moms Demand Action; and Clear Channel Outdoor.

“These types of partnerships have let us take action in a very positive way,” Ogg said.