As New Year’s Eve approaches, the Los Angeles Police Department along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department is launching its Citywide Gunfire Reduction Campaign. This campaign is designed to help reduce incidents of indiscriminate gunfire that have become a deadly New Year’s tradition in our city. The Gunfire Reduction Campaign aims to advise the community that ringing in the New Year with gunfire will not be tolerated in the City of Los Angeles. Anyone arrested for discharging a firearm will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Every year a significant number of people throughout Los Angeles engage in the extremely dangerous practice of discharging firearms into the air to celebrate New Year and do not realize the dangers posed by their actions. Discharging a firearm into the air is a felony punishable by one year in state prison. Researchers report that a bullet fired into the air can climb two miles into the air and remain in flight for more than a minute. As it falls, the bullet reaches a velocity of 300 to 700 feet per second. A velocity of only 200 feet per second is sufficient to penetrate the human skull.
Over the last several years, the Los Angeles Police Department has made great strides in reducing the amount of gunfire that occurs celebrating the New Year. During New Year’s Eve 2008, the LAPD received 212 "shots-fired" radio calls, down 42% from the previous year. There were 5 arrests for Negligent Discharge of a Firearm in the Air, and 45 guns were seized. Again this year, the LAPD will deploy task force officers to respond to gunfire calls throughout the city.
In 1998, Los Angeles Police Officer, Steven Gajda was killed in the line of duty during gunfire reduction efforts. Officer Gajda had volunteered to work the Gunfire Reduction Task Force in Hollenbeck Division and was shot and killed as he investigated gang activity at a New Year’s Eve party. The last death in the City of Los Angeles attributed to celebratory gunfire was nine-year old Brian Perez who died in 1999.
While law enforcement, in partnership with the community, local businesses and the media, has made an impact on reducing indiscriminate gunfire, the problem persists. The men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department are once again asking the community to celebrate the New Year safely and responsibly. Don’t fire guns in the air. Remember what goes up, will come down, and when a bullet comes down it is traveling at a fatal velocity.
• Shooting a gun into the air is a felony. You will spend up to one year in prison if you are caught.
• If you’re arrested for shooting a gun into the air, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
• If a stray bullet from your gun should kill someone, you will be arrested and charged with murder.
• People involved in celebrating the holidays by shooting their guns do not realize the danger posed by their actions.
• 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.
• If you ever see someone fire a gun into the air, call the police.
• Celebrate the holidays safely and responsibly. Don’t fire guns into the air.
REMEMBER, WHAT GOES UP WILL COME DOWN.