Detroit Officials urged the public to put down their guns and ring in the New Year with a bell instead. The annual “Ring the New Year in with a Bell, Not a Bang” campaign kicked off on Monday morning at Plymouth United Church of Christ on East Warren in Detroit.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said that since the campaign started, police have seen a reduction in gunfire on New Year’s.
“If we can spread this message throughout the rest of the community and get everyone else involved we will see that kind of random shooting further decline,” Napoleon said.
“This is an opportunity to change this whole ridiculous business of celebratory gunfire. …Officers who are patrolling New Year’s Eve will arrest anyone caught shooting a gun ” said Police Chief James Craig.
The “Ring the New Year in with a Bell, Not a Bang” started after the death of Sandra Latham, who was killed by stray gunfire. She had chosen to stay home with family to avoid the celebratory gunfire, and ended up becoming the city’s first homicide victim of 1996.