‘Bring in the New Year with a bell, not a bang,’ a campaign Sheriff Benny Napoleon stood by

This year, it’s all about spending New Year’s Eve, on guard. 

"A couple years ago, I was at my uncle’s house and it was gunshots shot on his block, very close to the house," said Detroiter Talasha Hilton. "We kind of shut off the lights, stopped celebrating and went to bed."

As some people usher in the New Year, the sounds of gunfire are a preferred noise maker. But since 1997, Rev. Nicholas Hood has been working to change that after the practice turned deadly the year before. 

"A 47-year-old grandmother was killed while seated at the table surrounded by her children and grandchildren," Rev. Hood said. "The good news is no one has died since then."

At the time, Rev. Hood was a Detroit City Council Member. 

"I was asked if I could put together a task force on New Year’s Eve celebratory violence," Rev. Hood said. 

From that initiative, came a campaign. 

"Bring in the new year with a bell, not a bang," Rev. Hood said. 

Rev. Hood was joined by law enforcement officials who determined to make a difference, including the late Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. 

"I encourage everyone to remember, that when you shoot a projectile up in the air, it comes down with a velocity that can kill someone," Sheriff Napoleon said. 

Rev. Hood said Sheriff Napoleon had planned to be with him to kick off this year’s campaign. 

"Benny Napoleon has stood with me for the last 20 years for this campaign," he said. "Matter of fact, we were planning to a hold press conference today." 

Since the campaign started, the amount of gunfire on New Year’s Eve has gone down significantly. But, this year’s pandemic is keeping more people at home and Rev. Hood hopes that won’t lead more people to resort to gunfire to celebrate.

"Maybe, I’ll just go on the back porch and shoot a gun," Rev. Hood said. 

Rev. Hood believes as the city progresses, this campaign is about progress also, and he hopes people will do the right thing to keep Detroit a city on the move.

"I hope people will choose good," he said.