Shotspotter Blog

Help Protect Your Community Against July 4th Illegal Celebratory Gunfire

Is your community prepared for illegal celebratory gunfire this year on July 4th?  Gunfire peaks on July 4th and is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year for illegal “celebratory” gunfire. Unfortunately, many innocent residents have been wounded or killed in the U.S. due to celebratory shooting.
ShotSpotter agency customers have revealed that knocking on doors in hot spot areas where celebratory gunfire has occurred in the past can help to make a difference. Taking the time to explain the dangers of celebratory gunfire and persuading community members to speak up can be valuable for agencies and help to spread the word to keep the community safer.

What’s the best way to plan and get prepared? Use ShotSpotter’s 6 helpful tips below.

6 Tips to Engage Your Community to Prevent Illegal Gunfire this July 4th:

1. Analyze 2016 Gunfire in each Neighborhood:  The best way to plan for the 4th of July this year is to analyze what happened last year — Where did gunfire happen on July 4th in 2016? Find this information, and print it and then get your law enforcement personnel together. Then, together come up with a plan to reach out to these neighborhoods that had busy gunfire last year.

2. Contact Each Resident on Your 2016 List: Get uniformed agency personnel to go to each address on the list and knock on these doors.  Make sure you contact the resident of each home on the list. If the resident is not home, be sure to leave behind a 4th of July Door hanger so that they can have information to contact your PD if they have questions or can provide a tip. Follow the instructions on the ShotSpotter for how to get the best results using door hangers.

3. Educate Neighborhood Residents: When you talk to residents, explain that there was celebratory gunfire detected last year at their address and remind them of the dangers of celebratory gunfire.  If your agency has experienced one of the tragedies, consider the use of that event as an example.

4. Enforce a “No Tolerance” Policy in Your Community:  Be firm with your residents and describe the unfortunate criminal consequences of celebratory gunfire.  ShotSpotter recommends a “no tolerance” policy on this activity and aggressive prosecution of the case.  Advise residents that the agency will be watching this year.  It is well understood that agencies do not actually have the manpower to watch every house on the list. It is our belief, as well as the agencies that have used this strategy, that just the thought that the agency might be watching them plays a large part in reducing the likelihood of the person engaging in the celebratory gunfire.

5. Release a Media Alert – Get the Word Out!: ShotSpotter has many tools to help you get the word out about illegal celebratory gunfire. Use our 4th of July Media template to help describe the dangers of celebratory gunfire in communities and provide best practices. Make sure to connect with your community leaders and let them know that you will be taking an active role in using ShotSpotter to catch and prosecute offenders.

6. Use Social Media to Reach your Community:  July 4th is a time of celebration, food and parties. Many community members may be on social media sharing news about gatherings. Don’t forget to use your PD social channels to get the word out about illegal celebratory gunfire and make sure to point your residents to best practices to ensure their safety this holiday.

For more celebratory gunfire reduction tools, go to our ShotSpotter Celebratory Gunfire Reduction Resource kit.

June 22, 2017
By: Sherry Prescott-Willis, Director of Marketing, ShotSpotter, Inc.