Can you tell the difference between gunshots and fireworks going off? Some people can't, and Phoenix police are now gearing up for a very busy New Year's Eve.
Fireworks are now being sold in the valley, and that could lead to more people lighting fireworks this Friday. Police believe people might confuse those fireworks for gunshots and call 911.
"A lot of people can't tell...if you see somebody participating, we can look into it," says Sgt. Tommy Thompson with Phoenix Police.
Phoenix police are sending 200 extra officers to patrol neighbors this New Year's Eve. Officers will be cracking down on those who shoot off fireworks, but most will focus on these areas where celebratory gunshots are a big problem.
Those areas are 35th avenue to 43rd avenue, from Peoria to Thunderbird, 7th avenue to 19th avenue from Thomas to Camelback, and 35th avenue to 43rd avenue from Thomas to McDowell. Those are areas in which there were "shots fired" calls last year on New Year's Eve.
"I'd ask people to be responsible and don't fire a gun out in the air because it can kill people," says Otis Smith, whose daughter Shannon was killed by random gunfire on New Year's Eve back in 1999. Smith was an 8th grader who was on the phone in her backyard in Phoenix when a bullet fell from the sky and killed her.
Her death is the inspiration for Shannon Law, which makes it illegal to fire a gun into the air.
"We had Shannon for 14 wonderful years, we celebrate that we don't forget her."
Although buying fireworks is legal, in most valley cities, lighting them up is not. Fireworks users can be cited.
Related Story: Glendale Police Detect Random Gunfire with Sensors
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