Mexicans are being invited to exchange their weapons for computers under a quirky new idea to curb rampant crime in Mexico City.

Authorities in one of the city’s 16 districts are offering a new computer, out of 150 donated by a charitable foundation, for each gun handed in.

"People often have a gun at home, which could perhaps be for self-defense, but sadly it becomes a family tragedy when it is not used properly " Guadalupe Lopez, local government head for the central district of Alvaro Obregon, told Reuters.

Shootings are a daily occurrence in Mexico City, a sprawling megalopolis of 18 million people where muggings, carjackings and kidnappings are common.

The computers-for-guns program, which echoes past schemes in other city districts that offered groceries for guns, will target some of the district’s most crime-hit areas, although collectors’ items are also turning up.

"This used to be my father’s. He died and left it to us, but we don’t have any use for it," said Emilia Reyes, arriving with her young son to drop off an old-fashioned wooden dueling pistol. "It’s better for him to have a computer in the house than a gun."

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