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62 people cited on 4th of July for illegal fireworks in Riverside

By in Press Enterprise on July 5, 2017

By Ali Tadayon

More than 60 people were issued $1,000 citations on the evening of the Fourth of July for illegally setting off fireworks in Riverside.

The citations come on the heels of a public relations push from the city urging residents not to set off fireworks — all types of fireworks are illegal in Riverside without a permit. In the past, illegal fireworks have caused fires, scared pets so they run away and dominated firefighters’ and police officers’ time on the Fourth of July.

Over the past two weeks, 120 citations have been issued for illegal fireworks, said Riverside Police Department Officer Ryan Railsback. More than 800 pounds of illegal fireworks have been confiscated in that time — 150 pounds of which were confiscated Tuesday.

Railsback said 62 of those 120 citations were issued during the “enforcement period” between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Last year on the Fourth of July, Riverside police received 916 emergency calls about fireworks, wrote 20 citations and confiscated 780 pounds of contraband.

Calls for service this year were about one-third of what they were in 2016, Railsback said. He attributed the decrease to the city’s anti-fireworks campaign.

“Most of the people who were cited knew about the PR push, so we knew that the message is getting out there,” Railsback said. “I think we still have people who are not going to adhere to the message, but I believe that a lot did.”

Railsback attributes the increase in citations, even while calls were down, to a change in policy. In the past, only the Fire Department was able to issue citations for illegal fireworks. This year, fireworks citations were considered “administrative citations,” or a violation of a city ordinance. That allowed police to issue citations and also raised the fine from $500 to $1,000.

Firefighters and police worked together during […]    

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