Following the surge in complaints about illegal fireworks last year, residents of Eureka can now report red reflections from rockets and bombs bursting in the air above their neighborhood via a form in line.
The form is available on the city’s website at bit.ly/3vJuYiN, or on the Eureka Police Department website at bit.ly/2SPLMqO. The form includes fields such as the address of the source of the fireworks and fields to identify offenders, including name, age, gender, size and vehicle information for applicable cases. , among others.
The city advises residents to be as thorough as possible in filing their reports.
âIn order to fully investigate a complaint, detailed whereabouts information is extremely important. The majority of our complaints are “heard only” and do not provide enough information to identify a suspicious location. Please also provide a callback number (make sure your voicemail is set up and not full) or email so you can be contacted if further follow-up is needed, âthe city of Eureka said in a statement. .
It is difficult for the authorities to track down the perpetrators of the harmful fireworks cases. At the regular city council meeting on Tuesday, January 19, the Eureka Police Department detailed some of the difficulties encountered in enforcing fireworks violations.
In a presentation led by former Eureka Police Captain Patrick O’Neill, he explained the potential for several types of fireworks to travel over 100 meters, the possibility for perpetrators to quickly escape , returning to their homes and the long reaction times associated with the regularly high volume of calls to city dispatchers make the application difficult.
The city has started considering developing a new way to report fireworks in response to a 173% increase in complaints related to the use of these explosives from 2019 to 2020.
Figures presented to the board at the January 19 meeting show that most months after March 2020 brought in more appeals than the respective month in the past two years. July remained the month with the most calls due to the authorized sale of fireworks from June 28 to July 6 for the July 4 celebrations. July 2020 generated 160 complaints, compared to 62 and 47 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
As Eureka Police Captain Brian Stephens told The Times-Standard, the department has not seen comparable numbers of fireworks complaints in the first six months of 2021, but the complaints calls fireworks increase in volume in the weeks leading up to Independence Day.
âWe are entering that time of year where we tend to see an increase in these calls as we get closer to July 4th,â he said.
Despite the form’s deployment schedule, Stephens maintains that the form is part of a larger means of providing the public with a means to help file detailed complaints.
âIt doesn’t necessarily come out because of dates or multiple complaint calls, it’s part of the complaint fireworks process,â Stephens said.
Stephens highlighted some of the benefits of being able to submit more detailed information to informants and detectives over a phone call to dispatchers.
“It gives people time to write down what they’ve seen, document a bit more in-depth, and maybe watch things for a few days to see if there’s anything else to post in there instead.” than having to call us every time, âhe said. âThe more detailed it is and the more accurate the information we get, the easier it will be for us to deal with the person responsible. “
It is a felony to possess fireworks that are considered dangerous without a valid permit under the California Health and Safety Code HS 12677. The use of these devices can result in personal injury, death, property damage and can cause anxiety in humans and pets.
Amy Conlin, Humboldt Bay Fire Community Risk Reduction Specialist, highlighted the risk of these explosives.
âThere’s a reason (fireworks) are illegal, they’re dangerous not only to the person shooting them, but to anyone nearby. They are also dangerous for nearby facilities or wilderness that can catch fire, âshe said. “We have fires every year that are the result of legal and illegal fireworks.”
The increased drought index for the region increases the likelihood of accidental fires due to the use of fireworks.
âThis is one of the driest years we have had in a very long time and so we strongly encourage our community not to use fireworks this year if possible, especially not to use fireworks. illegal fireworks, âConlin said.
Ahead of the Independence Day celebrations, Eureka Mayor Susan Seaman advised residents to refrain from using illicit fireworks and urged them to attend fireworks shows approved, such as the city’s 4th of July fireworks display.
âCelebrating July 4th by watching approved fireworks or safely using safe and healthy fireworks are beloved traditions for many people. Shoot illegal fireworks at any time, or fireworks on days other than the fourth is far from being appreciated. It is incredibly stressful for many residents and animals, and they are extremely dangerous during fire season, “she said in a statement.