Redwood City police will crack down on celebratory gunfire


It's New Year's Eve and there will likely be illegal fireworks set off in the Bay Area.

"Calls for illegal fireworks takes up a lot of our time when we could be responding to other priority calls," said Oakland police spokesperson Officer Johnna Watson.

Watson says they're also gearing up for celebratory gunfire. Redwood City police Lt. James Stoney is depending on ShotSpotter technology to help police pinpoint where gunfire is coming from. Sensors placed around Redwood City pick up the location of the shots, as well as fireworks that are set off in the streets.

Extra officers will be out, responding immediately to the alerts. Volunteers will also be an integral part of "Operation Silent Night."

"They volunteer during disasters. They're amateur radio operators, so they're not police officers, they're not sworn, they just report and observe," said Redwood City Lt. James Stoney.

Oakland police will also be out in force with a heavy concentration of officers in the Downtown area. Illegal gunfire and fireworks have been a major problem in Redwood City during holidays like the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve. Oakland police will have a special enforcement team out on New Year's Even through New Year's Day, responding specifically to gunshots and fireworks.

"The officers have a laptop in his or her patrol car. They'll not only have the address of where ShotSpotter technology detected the discharge of the firearm, so the gunshots, but also a map," said Watson.

The negligent discharge of a firearm is a felony. Setting off illegal fireworks, in some cases could also be charged as a felony offense.

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