The Armed Citizen Project has inaugurated a project to arm residents in a Houston neighborhood where the crime rate is rising and the homeowners are worried.  One-hundred homeowners in the area around 610/290/T.C. Jester Park will be offered a free pump-action shotgun if they can pass a background check and will participate in safety, legal and tactical training.

ACP founder and Executive Director Kyle Coplen told KTRH, “We will be training 10 people every weekend.”  The neighborhood has a mid-high crime rating and was recommended by law enforcement and residents.  Coplen said he would continue to train residents “every other Sunday for a minimum of ten weeks, and as long as we get participation we will train and arm as many of the 100 households as we can.”  He has been training single women, mothers and the elderly in the past.

Coplan’s goal is to expand the program to four cities next, and hopes to be active in 15 cities by the end of the year.  He ultimately wants to see the project empowering residents as a crime deterrent to go national

Kyle Coplen is a policy wonk.  He is in the final semester of getting his masters degree in Public Administration at the University of Houston, and is working off his theory that fear – like the fear of being shot during a robbery – is an effective deterrent to break-ins.  Signs will be placed in the neighborhood, maybe at houses that received the training and shotgun and maybe not, notifying would-be robbers of their increased risk.  Crooks won’t know which houses have participated in the program.  Coplen will track the crime data to see if his theory is right.