Long Beach Police will be out in force on New Year's Eve and reminds residents that “celebratory” gunfire is illegal and dangerous, and could result in injury or death to those struck and jail time for offenders.
Discharging a firearm into the air has resulted in injuries and deaths across the country. In most instances when a falling bullet strikes a person, it does so in the head or upper body and is likely to cause serious injury or death. In California, discharging a firearm into the air is a felony and punishable by up to three years in state prison. If a stray bullet strikes someone, more serious consequences exist, including the possibility of the shooter being arrested for murder.
“We want everyone to celebrate New Year’s Eve responsibly,” said Chief Robert Luna, “Together, we can make this a safe and enjoyable holiday, so if you see something, say something.”
Residents are strongly encouraged to report gunfire along with any other suspicious or criminal activity they see occurring. Callers should provide an exact location and physical descriptions of suspects and/or vehicles, along with license plate information, if it can be done safely. Most 9-1-1 calls from cell phones in Long Beach are directed to the Communications Center, however, callers may wish to save the Communications Dispatch Phone Line, (562) 435-6711, to their contact list as an alternate number.
If you’re hosting a celebration or attending one, consider the following safety tips:
- Plan ahead by naming a "designated driver" before any drinking begins
- Serve non-alcoholic beverages as an option to your guests
- Remember that drinking lowers inhibitions and may cause you to make poor decisions
- If you do drink, call a taxi, use public transportation, or ask a sober friend or family member to drive you home
- Trust your instincts and recognize warning signs
- While out, be careful what you post online; don’t alert others that you are not at home and your house is vulnerable to burglary
- Report drunk drivers, Call 9-1-1