When the ball drops, some share a congratulatory kiss, others pop open bottles—and then there are those who choose a more destructive route.
“On New Year’s Eve, right around midnight, we get a lot of calls for shots fired," said Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia of the Cleveland Division of Police.
Studies show celebratory shooting accounts for 15 percent of all annual gunfire incidents, especially on New Year's Eve.
“People get in the moment and they want to fire their guns off. They’ve probably seen it on TV,” said Naso Karas. He’s a gun safety instructor at North Coast Defense Academy.
He said the first rule he teaches is being fully aware of the direction you’re pointing it in, and when you shoot in the air, you don’t have that vantage point.
“It’s hard to see where it’s going to land. It’s coming down with quite a bit of speed and it can cause damages and injuries.”
Whether you're a student or you just like it as a sport when it’s time to ring in the New Year, the city's making it clear that celebratory shooting is strictly forbidden.
Ciaccia says it’s a major safety concern.
“You can cause damages to power lines, you can cause damages to property, but the biggest concern is that when those rounds hit and they start to fall back down, they can cause very serious injuries and even death.”
And while the city said they can't stop people from illegal behavior like shooting, they will have their eye out for it.
“We’re fully staffed on New Year’s Eve, just as on all holidays, sometimes a little extra. During the course of routine patrol, our men and women will get those calls and will respond to them,” Ciaccia said.
If you choose to ignore the warning and fire anyway, she said the consequence is steep: you can be arrested and charged for discharging a firearm within city limits.
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