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Councilmember Ridley-Thomas Introduces Motion to Crack Down on Illegal Fireworks

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Chez Hadley

In the city of Los Angeles, it is against the law to possess, sell and or set off fireworks, but you wouldn’t have known that last summer when the number of illegal fireworks reported to police soared 170 percent last June, with LAPD officers dispatched over 1500 times to investigate complaints. And in areas like South Los Angeles and LAPD’s Northeast division, the numbers were even higher.

Due to public outreach and teamwork on the part of the LAPD and the Los Angeles Fire Department to crack down on illegal fireworks with an anti-firework task force and hotline, the number of resident reports has deceased. 

Still, ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, city and county officials are moving to curtail illegal fireworks.

While L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has sought the help of federal law enforcement agencies, Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas has introduced a motion that directs the Fire and Police Departments to report back on setting up a system to track and respond to fireworks complaints through a mobile application that would issue automatic violations. A similar program has been established in the County of San Bernardino.

“The bottom line has to be safety. The use of illegal fireworks poses a threat to Angelenos, whether you are housed and unhoused. We must get creative, and we must make it easy to identify illegal uses and establish sufficient repercussions to curb this activity. Too many of our neighbors are literally playing with fire, and the results can be lethal,” said Councilmember Ridley-Thomas.

“The Fire Department is supportive of all programs which can significantly reduce the risk of injury and potential fires from the use of illegal fireworks,” said Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas. “Councilmember Ridley-Thomas’ motion is innovative, and I look forward to collaborating with the Police Department, the City Council, and other city departments in this endeavor.”

If you’d like to report illegal fireworks, you can do it anonymously at LACrimeStoppers.org


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