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Police Working to Reduce New Year's Celebratory Gunfire in Columbus
COLUMBUS (Ken Hines) -- As central Ohioans prepare to celebrate the new year, police and community leaders are reminding partiers that shooting guns into the air is not only dangerous, but also illegal.
Columbus police officers have joined with local business and religious leaders to post billboards, distribute flyers, and air ads that warn about the possible safety and legal consequences related to celebratory gunfire.
"Research has shown [bullets] tumbling back to Earth at 300 feet per second -- nearly two times as fast as is necessary to puncture the human skull," Deputy Chief Ken Kuebler.
Celebratory gunfire has wounded Columbus residents in the past, including a 16-year-old girl who was killed inside her home.
The majority of celebratory New Year's Eve gunfire in Columbus typically occurs in the city's eastern areas, though police have responded to several incidents in the Franklinton and Hilltop areas in recent years.
Police officers recommend that people in high-risk areas head indoors -- preferably to basements -- when midnight strikes on Wednesday in order to limit possible exposure to falling bullets.
Officers are also reminding central Ohioans that the firing of celebratory gunshots into the air is illegal, and such crimes will be investigated using ballistic testing and other sophisticated methods.
"Celebratory gunfire is illegal, unsafe, and [it's] endangering our kids," Kuebler said.
Click here for a map of reported instances of recent celebratory gunfire in Columbus.