LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Neighbors in Hillcrest are calling for change Thursday, weeks after a loud New Year’s Eve due to gunfire.
“It was a significantly different war-like experience this year,” said Gwen Combs who lives in the Hillcrest neighborhood.
Police say many of the sounds were detected from celebratory gunfire. Some of the most they’ve had in years.
Combs was one of many whose homes were hit by one of the bullets.
“It was terrifying,” Combs said. “Seeing that bullet hit less than 10 feet from the window underneath where we were sleeping was completely unnerving.”
Thursday, she, and other neighbors joined in on LRPD’s quarterly meeting at the 12th Street Sub Station calling for change.
“I’m sure y’all know from these calls, where the hot spots are,” said one neighbor on the call.
Police say the increase in numbers is because guns are falling into the wrong hands, many of them younger.
“The word is out two years ago, not a lot of people understood that you could be that young and have a long rifle,” LRPD Major Andre Dyer said.
Police say they are in a difficult situation because there are very few things that can do to legally punish people for celebratory gunfire.
“When you step outside of your door, you fire a weapon, you go back into your door, it’s going to be very difficult to make that charge stick,” Dyer said.
Dyer says without someone recording or police seeing the gunfire directly, it’s hard to determine and charge the person who shot the gun.
Police are now suggesting the public work together with officers to educate people on the dangers of celebratory gunfire.
“What comes up does come down whether it’s a balloon or a bullet and that those celebratory rounds are deadly,” said Combs.
Police also say they are working to connect with schools and neighborhoods to explain the dangers with hopes 2022 celebrations will come with fewer shots fired.