Long Beach Police will be out in force on New Year's Eve and would like to remind residents that “celebratory” gunfire is illegal and dangerous, could result in injury or death to anyone struck, and jail time for the offenders.
Discharging a firearm into the air indiscriminately 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 enjoy ringing in the new year,” stated Patrol Deputy Chief Wally Hebeish. “However, we must encourage all residents and visitors to think about their actions and to celebrate responsibly.”
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 description of suspect(s) and/or vehicle(s), 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 program the Communications Dispatch phone number, (562) 435-6711, into their phones.
Residents are also encouraged to consider the following tips, which may help them enjoy a safe holiday:
• Plan ahead by identifying a "designated driver" before any drinking begins
• Remember that drinking lowers inhibitions and may cause you to make poor decisions
• If you do drink, use a ride-sharing service or public transportation, or ask a sober friend for a ride home
• Trust your instincts and recognize warning signs
• Social media posts may alert others you are out for the evening, leaving your home vulnerable to burglary
• All fireworks are illegal in the City of LB and are punishable by $1,000 fine, six months of jail, or both
• Report drunk drivers by calling 9-1-1
• Report suspicious activity immediately by calling 9-1-1; if you see something … say something!