The city of Cleveland is urging residents to leave firearms out of New Year’s …
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Martin Flask, Director of Public Safety for the city ofCleveland, is urging residents to refrain from celebrating on New Year's Eve by shooting firearms during New Year's Eve celebrations.
The problem, Flask said in a statement released Friday, is that "What goes up will come down." In a densely populated city like Cleveland, he added, shooting a firearm can pose a danger to neighbors and even to those blocks away.
Firing guns into the air in celebration is common in big cities, officials say. Law enforcement officials from Philadelphia, to St. Louis to Santa Monica, Calif., this year mounted "Fun without guns" campaigns aimed at getting residents to ring in the New Year without the sound of gunfire.
"It's common in a lot of communities across the country," Flask said. "But it is problematic in Cleveland because of the close proximity of the houses and the large population."
Fortunately, there haven't been any reported injuries in the city for several years. One of the last reported incidents occurred on New Year's Eve 2000 when a bullet struck Cleveland police officer Dennis Lally in the shoulder while he was working at a DUI checkpoint.
Lally was not seriously injured. The bullet went through his leather jacket, but did not pierce his skin.
There may be occasional reports of injuries, but property damage is reported yearly.
"Inevitably there will be property damage -- Roofs, car windshields, rear windows," Flask said in an interview Friday.
The director also stressed that it is illegal, except for law enforcement officers who are carrying out their duties or people acting in self-defense, to discharge a firearm in the city.
It is a first degree misdemeanor and those who are charged with the unlawful discharge of a firearm could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
For more information go to clesafety.com.