Imagine hearing gunfire outside your home. Think about hearing a thud against your house and, upon inspection, finding a bullet like this embedded into the siding of your home. Then, dislodging it and holding it between your fingers. Consider the damage it could have done to you or your family members.

Well, now you know how New Hartford's Joanne Crowe felt and how she feels today. She doesn't have to imagine the bullet. The New Hartford Central School District employee experienced the end result of this very circumstance over the July 4th holiday.

Fortunately she and her family were not at their home on Sessions Road when the bullet struck, but she says she often hears gun shots in the woods between her house and other homes on Roberts Road.

A report was filed with the police. They said there was really nothing they could do, but encouraged her to call next time there were shots.

Joanne shared these photographs with us to help illustrate her true story, to send a message to the careless individuals who perpetrated the act, and maybe to prevent this type of thing from happening to others in our community.

It's the kind of event that has sadly become all too common in some of our inner cities, but maybe seems more poignant and alarming when it occurs in suburban settings like New Hartford.

But it's not so farfetched.

Try doing a Google search with a phrase like "stray bullet strikes child" and see how many different stories come up. Most recently a child playing basketball outside in Hammond, Indiana was hit in the head and critically injured by a bullet fired by someone during a July 4th celebration.

Earlier this year, a bullet grazed but did not seriously harm a woman sitting at a St. Louis Cardinals' baseball game in Busch Stadium.

According to a report filed by Andrew Derminio for our sister station WIBX AM 950, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says it's illegal to fire a gun "within 500 feet...of a dwelling, farm building or structure in occupation or use unless you own it, lease it, are an immediate member of the family, an employee, or have the owner’s consent."

Properly registered gun owners are overwhelmingly responsible. Wouldn't it be great to eliminate the rare but dangerous opposite end of that spectrum?