Authorities in the western U.S. state of California have collected hundreds of guns from citizens in an unusual exchange program.

Dozens of residents in Compton, near Los Angeles, participated Saturday in the so-called "Gifts for Guns" event just ahead of Christmas. They were lured by the prospect of receiving voucher-like cards worth $100 from a variety of merchants.

Authorities came up with the idea as a way of reducing violence in the crime-ridden city. At least 65 homicides have been reported this year, nearly doubling the killings of last year.

Police have collected at least 250 firearms, including more than 100 handguns, dozens of rifles and shotguns, and a handful of assault rifles and semiautomatic pistols.

Dozens of U.S. cities have engaged in similar programs over the last several years to reduce the threat of gun violence.

Some information for this report provided by AP.