Police watching for celebratory gunfire and drunk drivers - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Police watching for celebratory gunfire and drunk drivers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Police across the Richmond area are increasing patrols while you're out enjoying New Year's Eve. Officers are specifically trying to crack down on celebratory gunfire. It is a major problem every year.

Officers want to remind people it's against the law - and some people in one Forest Hill neighborhood off of Jahnke Road have had enough.

People who live here say they are actually used to hearing gunshots throughout the year, but New Year's Eve is the worst. Some people are too scared to leave their house.

Jimmie Springston said you hear gunfire in the neighborhood weekly, but on New Year's Eve it's in all directions.

"It's been going on for years, so we kind of stay inside. We don't go anywhere for New Year's," he said.

He's not the only one with concerns.

The Smullens also live in the neighborhood and have two young children. They worry the worst could happen.

"A bullet coming through the kid's window. I mean, it's very possible," said Dan Smullen.  "There's so much population around here, I'm surprised there isn't really more damage or injuries."

Police are sending out notice that firing a weapon within city limits is illegal and can carry serious consequences. Richmond Deputy Chief Eric English sent out a message saying, "We encourage people to use some commons sense. Reckless handling of firearms endangers everyone."

Police are also reminding partygoers that if they drink and decide to get behind the wheel, there will be more officers out and more DUI checkpoints

So whether you're watching the ball rise in Carytown or ringing it in quietly at home, police say have fun but be responsible - or spend the New Year with an officer by your side.

State and local police have already told NBC12 they are out in full force right now, looking for drunk and other dangerous drivers. DUI checkpoints will be up in several localities through January 2.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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