Community Members Encouraged to Celebrate July 4 Safely
July 4, 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of 74-year-old Durham resident Paulette Thorpe who was sitting on a porch visiting a friend when she was killed by celebratory gunfire. The incident occurred in the 500 block of Burlington Avenue at approximately 11 p.m. July 4 a year ago. The Durham Police Department is releasing a video public service announcement in English and Spanish to warn the community of the potentially fatal consequences of celebratory gunfire.
“The Thorpe family worked closely with our department to produce the PSA,” says Lt. G.L. Minor of the Public Affairs Unit. “The goal was to create a compelling promotion that would honor Mrs. Thorpe’s life and cause community members to stop and think about the possible consequences of their actions.”
Lt. Minor adds that in addition to the serious harm and loss of human life, bullets shot in the air can also cause serious harm to pets and cause costly damage to cars and homes. “In Durham, anyone caught firing a gun into the air could be charged with a CLASS 3 misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $500,” says Lt. Minor.
Also the Durham Police Department reminds the community to celebrate the July 4 holiday safely in the following ways:
- Follow Motor Vehicle Laws. Do NOT drink and drive. If you do drink, use a designated driver, call a cab, use a rideshare option, phone a friend or walk. Always watch out for pedestrians and observe the speed limit.
- Know How Fireworks Work. If you purchase consumer fireworks for personal entertainment, be sure that the fireworks are legal. Without exception, always read fireworks instructions carefully. Fireworks that explode are illegal in North Carolina.
- Be Mindful of Noise. According to a Durham noise ordinance, from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., the sound level should not be louder than 50 decibels. Experts say that compares to a quiet conversation at home.
- Keep An Eye on Pets. The sound of fireworks often frightens pets. Don’t leave pets leashed, fenced, or chained up outside during fireworks displays. They may become disoriented, escape and get lost.
- Follow City’s Latest COVID-19 Guidelines. Visit the City’s COVID-19 Resource Page to learn about current guidelines to stem the resurgence of COVID-19 in the community.
- In Case of Emergency Call 911. Residents are reminded to always call 911 in these instances: sounds of gun shots; fire emergency; immediate or potential threat to life or property; medical emergency; other actual or perceived emergency; suspicious persons, vehicles or activity; any type of fight or disturbance; vehicle accident; and/or when a child or pet is locked in a vehicle.
- Call (919) 560-4600 for non-life threatening emergencies. Durham's non-emergency number frees up 911 lines for non-life threatening emergencies. Examples include barking dogs, loud music, burglaries that occurred hours or days earlier (not in progress), and vandalism to public or private property.
For more safety information, visit the social media pages of the Durham Police Department, Durham Fire Department, and the Durham County Health Department.