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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the 17th year, Miami’s mayor, commissioners, local leaders and police chiefs are asking residents and visitors not to fire gunshots into the air on New Year’s Eve.

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They add that their annual “One Bullet Kills The Party” campaign is a reminder that every year innocent people, including children, are hit by bullets fired into the air by people celebrating various holidays which cause serious injury and some times death.

“There is no such thing as celebratory gunfire. Weapons are for one thing only and that’s to take a life,” said Miami Gardens deputy police chief Antonio Brooklen.

“No one wants our celebrations to end in the night in horror,” said Miami city commissioner Keon Hardemon.

Police and community leaders came together Tuesday at Robert Clemente park to plead with the public for peaceful celebration.

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“We cannot celebrate with weapons,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

“Do not shoot up in the air, just go to Bayfront Park,” said Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa.

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On New Year’s Eve 2012, one man was hit by celebratory gunfire. Four years ago, a 6-year-old Italian tourist dining at a Miami restaurant was wounded. Stray bullets have also injured and taken the lives of numerous children in Miami-Dade including Rikiah Isaac.

Those deaths and serious injuries motivated the Miami and Miami-Dade police departments to launch the awareness campaign.

“We want to change the culture that is permeating in our communities to one is a positive one,” said Hardemon.

Anyone who sees someone firing a weapon recklessly should call 911.

Firing a weapon into the air within county limits is not only dangerous but illegal. It is a first degree misdemeanor. But it can also mean a variety of charges, depending upon what the arresting officer decides at the time and what happens, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.

Miami-Dade police director J.D. Patterson said their officers will be out in force to catch for violators.

“We’re going to have police officers out on street on midnight on the 31st of December doing their jobs,” said Patterson.

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Anyone who is caught firing a weapon in to the air could face substantial fines and even time in jail. The time behind bars could be substantial as well if someone is injured or killed.
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