A campaign to end New Year’s gunfire in Detroit is still going after eighteen years.
Organizers say it’s successfully put a damper on the unofficial tradition, with celebratory midnight gunfire waning in recent years—at least anecdotally.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon says that seems to be true in his Detroit neighborhood, but many Detroiters are still afraid to venture out for New Year’s.
“You still hear a lot of people say, ‘I will be inside when people start shooting around midnight,’” Napoleon said.
Organizer Reverend Nicholas Hood III says it’s time to expand the message to ending gunfire year-round, and dealing with the roots of violence in many Detroit communities.
“And that’s a mighty big task,” said Hood. “But I just feel like, if people of goodwill do not try to address the issues that are before us, that we will choke and suffocate from it.”
Hood launched the “Ring in the New Year with a bell, not a bang” campaign after errant gunfire killed a Detroit woman, Sandra Latham, in 1996.