ShotSpotter Records More Than 1,000 Shots During July 4th Holiday

The ShotSpotter system is used by the Birmingham Police Department to detect and record  firecrackers, fireworks and gunshots fired in the Birmingham area.  According to police, despite repeated warnings not to fire celebratory gunshots during the July 4th holiday weekend, the system recorded over 1,000 gunshots in a 24-hour period.  The ShotSpotter system also recorded, stated police spokesman Sgt. Johnny Williams, Jr., 2,570 incidents of firecrackers or fireworks , both of which are illegal to ignite in the city.

Even with extra police officers on the street to enforce the city’s fireworks and firearms ordinances, this year’s incidents are a drastic increase over the 2011 July 4th holiday numbers, when the system recorded just 75 gunshots and 170 fireworks.  Law enforcement officials did state that last year’s numbers were much lower than 2010 numbers due to, they believe, the 1.83 inches of rain that fell during the holiday weekend.  Police reported the fine for both of these illegal activities within city limits is punishable by up to a $500.00 fine and 180 days in jail. 

Spokesman Williams said that the number of arrests was not available, but he did say that one person was shot at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, but the injuries were not life threatening and it wasn’t clear whether the injury came from celebratory gunfire or not.