Birmingham Police warn about dangers of celebratory gunfire during holiday

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -- As Independence Day approaches, Birmingham Police are warning people about the dangers of celebratory gunfire.

Officers are also reminding residents that it is illegal to shoot off fireworks in city limits.

Every year police get several calls about gunshots and fireworks and neighbors say it can be frightening for families.

"It increases and we're not just talking about young folks, we're talking about residents that live in homes, they decide they want to shoot their guns on fourth of July," said Susan Palmer, President of the Central Park Neighborhood Association.

Palmer said she knows all too well that some people take their celebration to a dangerous level.

"If you shoot a gun, a bullet does not have a name on it, so we want everybody to cease fire," said Palmer.

Instead of shooting fireworks in city limits, police are asking people to watch shows that are already scheduled.

"We're asking everyone to just refrain from the fireworks, enjoy the shows from Red Mountain and then also certainly refrain from celebratory gunfire," said Sgt. Johnny Williams with Birmingham Police Department.

ShotSpotter systems that aim to identify the location of gunfire should differentiate between a gunshot and fireworks, but police say they will have beefed up patrols ready to answer any call.

"Someone else may be shooting from somewhere else and that round can come down and hit them or their family," said Williams.

Neighbors like Palmer hope anyone who is thinking about celebrating with a bang will also consider the families sharing the same block.

"It shakes the whole house, it traumatizes you, it traumatizes your kid," said Palmer.

For more information on shows scheduled in the area, click here.

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