Heavy police presence, zero tolerance for shenanigans at First Night |

Heavy police presence, zero tolerance for shenanigans at First Night

Megan Guza
One of the outdoor stages offering live performances at the Highmark First Night Pittsburgh celebration on Dec. 31.

Pittsburgh police are reminding residents that celebratory gunfire, often popular on New Year’s Eve, can be deadly.

“Sadly, the results are often tragic when innocent people are hit by bullets,” Public Safety spokesman Chris Togneri said in a Sunday press release. “Any bullet discharged from a gun, even into the sky, must land somewhere, and when it does, there is significant risk of injury or death.”

He said officers will respond to any notification from the city’s ShotSpotter system – which now operates throughout the city – and arrest anyone firing shots. The system allows authorities to pinpoint where shots have been fired.

The reminder came as part of a list of safety reminders for revelers planning to ring in the new year Monday night.

First Night festivities throughout Downtown Pittsburgh will bring large crowds, and a slew of law enforcement agencies will be on hand, including city police, state police, state park rangers, Port Authority Police, Allegheny County Police, and the city’s mounted unit, Togneri said.

“First Night is a Pittsburgh tradition, and Public Safety will be there to assure a safe experience for all,” said Public Safety Directory Wendell Hissrich. “We ask that people behave responsibly and safely.”

Togneri said police will also be actively searching for drunk drivers. Police also reminded residents that even legal fireworks are not permitted within 150 feet of any structure in the city.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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