Police cracking down on celebratory gunfire

Police cracking down on celebratory gunfire

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Police say a bullet fired in the air can travel up to two miles. When falling back to earth, it can easily reach a velocity strong enough to penetrate the human skull. (Source: WBRC video) Police say a bullet fired in the air can travel up to two miles. When falling back to earth, it can easily reach a velocity strong enough to penetrate the human skull. (Source: WBRC video)
Birmingham police are adding 100 officers to the streets on New Years Eve to look out for celebratory gunfire. Birmingham police are adding 100 officers to the streets on New Years Eve to look out for celebratory gunfire.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

It's a familiar saying: What goes up must come down.

But that's the serious message Birmingham police are sending to folks who want to fire bullets into the air to celebrate the New Year.

Thursday, law enforcement talked about the dangers of "celebratory gunfire" and how they plan to crack down on this dangerous practice.

Birmingham police say celebratory gunfire may not seem like a big deal to many, but to put this into perspective, officers say people will sleep in their bathtubs on New Year's Eve just to protect themselves from flying bullets.

Police want everyone to enjoy New Year's Eve, so four years ago they created the campaign "Operation Crack Down."

Since the campaign started in 2009, police say there have been no reports of death or injuries. In 2008, the year before it started, two people were injured from flying bullets.

"Risk of celebratory gunfire is 100 percent preventable," Birmingham police chief A.C. Roper said today.

Officials say a bullet fired into the air can climb up to two miles. When it falls back to earth, it can reach a speed of 300 to 700 feet per second. A velocity of only 200 feet per second is strong enough to penetrate the human skull.

Police say last year a bullet fell from the sky and penetrated the trunk of a police car, so you can only imagine what it would do if it hit a person.

If a stray bullet from your gun hits or kills someone, officials say you will be arrested and charged with felony assault or murder. Officers out in the field this week will be spreading the word about Operation Crack Down and how celebratory gunfire is illegal.

Police are also going to add 100 extra officers to the streets New Year's Eve looking for celebratory gunfire.

And if you see or hear gunfire, you can call 911. Your call will be anonymous but police want you to give as much information as possible like an address and how many shots were fired.

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