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Birmingham police patrolling areas prone to celebratory gunfire

December 31, 2015

Birmingham police are once again increasing patrols in areas of the city that have seen celebratory gunfire in the past on New Year's Eve.

"The idea that people seem to forget about is what goes up, must come down," said Birmingham Police Sergeant Bryan Shelton.

"Bullets are very dangerous instruments at times. And if you just recklessly shoot them in the air, they will come down at some point potentially hitting someone," he continued.

To help cut down on the practice, police use what's known as the "ShotSpotter."

"We have sensors that can pick up where they are and lead us right to the location where the shots came from," Shelton explained.

The technology can also distinguish between gunfire and other similar noises.

"Our dispatchers, or the people who are actually looking at the system, will determine whether it is a gun shot or a firework.  And then once they make that determination, they then dispatch units accordingly," said Shelton.

Police say in the past, bullets have entered people's homes and even struck individuals.

The shot spotter technology definitely assists officers, and since the department has increased their patrols they've seen results on New Year's Eve.

"Because of the operations that we've ran in years past, we have definitely seen a drop in celebratory gunfire. But that doesn't mean we are going to stop paying attention to it. So we are still going to have officers out there patrolling the areas making sure things are kept under control," Shelton said.