In a statement to the community yesterday, LAPD Wilshire Division Captain Shannon Paulson provided the following information about how the Division is addressing the increased use of illegal fireworks in our neighborhoods (and, yes, ALL FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES):
“As with many of you, I am very aware of the proliferation of illegal fireworks in our community. This activity seems to have increased this year over prior ones, for reasons we can all theorize on. As I’m sure you can imagine, fireworks are also one of those very challenging issues to address as officers are frequently unable to actually “catch” the violators in the act.
We have engaged in a public education campaign via community interaction and social media, and in those instances where a likely violator or residence was identified, even when we did not have “proof,” my Senior Lead Officers have visited to issue warnings in an effort to curb future violations. While some of this action may have had some positive results with a limited number of individuals, overall it doesn’t seem to have put a dent in the activity within our community. Thus, beginning next week, I have re-assigned officers from several other activities, contacted our reserve and volunteer corps, and put together a task force to commence enforcement activities to the degree that we are able. I have compiled the locations many of you have provided, along with radio calls and information provided through the “We Tip” website and we will be analyzing that to assist in focusing our efforts.
If you are aware of specific locations with nightly activity and have not yet provided information to one of previously noted avenues, please feel free to reach out to me. Please be as specific as possible (streets and block numbers are the best) so I that I can focus my limited resources. Please know this will be a zero tolerance enforcement – fireworks of any kind are illegal in the City. My officers cannot and will not distinguish between someone who has been terrorizing the neighborhood on a nightly basis with illicit commercial grade “professional” fireworks and someone who happened to light off the pretty “safe and sane” roman candle to make their 5 year old happy. We cannot and will not play favorites. I’m sorry, but they are all illegal, because they all pose an unreasonable danger in our City environment.
Given this information, should you, or anyone you know such as family or friends, currently be in possession of illegal fireworks, be they the illicit kind or perhaps some “safe and sane” ones you have legally purchased outside the City, you can surrender them to us with absolutely no fear of penalty or repercussions. We will take them from you with no questions asked and store them until they can be safely destroyed. Please reach out to me if you need further information on that.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy weekend,
Shannon K. Paulson, Captain Commanding Officer
Wilshire Area LAPD
The Fourth of July is just a week away, so it is likely we’ll see the activity ramping up even more as we get closer to the holiday. To report illegal fireworks in your neighborhood, you can use the WeTip site mentioned above, the MyLA311 app or website, or call the LAPD’s non-emergency line at 1-877-ASK-LAPD. (Please do not use 911 unless it’s a life-threatening emergency.)
Also, to help spread the word about illegal fireworks use, you can share these two fliers via e-mail and social media…
…or print paper copies from PDF files of the letter and/or flier to put up or distribute around your neighborhood. Please have a happy and safe holiday week.