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Los Angeles: Los Angeles Chief of Police William Bratton joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Attorney Rock Delgadillo, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, want to remind local residents to keep New Year’s Eve celebrations safe by not engaging in celebratory gunfire. The press conference took place at the Los Angeles Police Academy in Elysian Park today at 9:30 AM.
Last New Year’s Eve, reports of shots fired in the city of Los Angeles were less than 150, which was one-fifth the number reported in 1992, and less than half that reported in 2005. This steady decline in gunfire started 15 years ago with a change in the law, which made it a felony for anyone to recklessly shoot in the air. The change gave police the power to arrest the alleged shooter even though the officers did not see the actual gun fired.
"The steady decline in gunfire incidents is good news, and it’s come in great part through our annual media campaign to remind everyone of the danger," said Chief Bratton. "Remember, what goes up, must come down."
A bullet shot in the air can drop at a rate of 200 feet per second and have enough force to penetrate a roof or a human skull. The last death attributed to celebratory gunfire was nine-year-old Brian Perez, who died in 1999.
The LAPD will have special teams of officers ready to respond quickly to reports of gunfire. Last year, LAPD officers arrested 9 persons for firing in the air, and another 21 persons on gun-related charges over New Year’s Eve. Thirteen guns were also seized, down from seventeen seized last year.