'Bells Not Bangs' campaign kicks off in Detroit

By Evrod Cassimy - Reporter/Anchor

DETROIT - The annual "Bells Not Bangs" campaign kicked off in Detroit Monday, just ahead of the new year.

The purpose is to put an end to celebratory gun fire.

As the clock strikes 12 a.m. on New Year's Day, Detroit police and local elected officials are hoping the public will celebrate 2014 peacefully.

The community leaders joined together Monday to ring bells -- a move to discourage people from firing guns into the air on New Year's Eve and year round.

"We've seen a reduction in violent crime year to date in Detroit, but there's still some that want to engage in violence," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Craig wants to see end to the senseless gun fire and supports the campaign. The Rev. Nicholas Hood came up with the idea 16 years ago, after a tragic incident that could have been prevented.

"In 1997, a 47 year old grandmother was killed on New Year's Eve seated at a table with her family beside her," said Hood. "It was a random, accidental gun fire."

Every year since then, Hood pleads with the community to ring bells to celebrate the new year instead of firing a weapon.

Detroit police have a zero tolerance policy for anyone caught breaking the law.

"They're going to be prosecuted," said Craig. "It's that simple."

Craig says that police will be out patrolling on New Year's Eve and if you are caught shooting off a gun or anytime through the year you will be arrested.

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