PHOENIX — Despite officials repeatedly reminding the public of illegal fireworks in Arizona around the Fourth of July, it's not uncommon to see them blasting off into the sky in your neighborhood.
But the number of people who actually get caught using these illegal fireworks may surprise you.
Phoenix police have arrested or cited three people for illegal possession of fireworks and one person for illegally selling them from December 2017 through April 2022.
“We get a higher call volume," said Sgt. Vincent Cole, a public information officer with the Phoenix Police Department.
Cole said the holiday is typically busy for his department and many of the calls that come in are from those reporting fireworks.
However, there have only been four arrests by his department in more than four years.
He explained why.
“When we get calls for service for those, fireworks are something that get used and people leave and don't stick around and they draw attention," Cole said. "The way that those types of calls come about, it's typically after the fact.”
Cole said enforcement can be a challenge.
“People typically don't announce when they're going to be shooting off illegal fireworks. And so it presents a unique challenge sometimes with locating those who are responsible," Cole said.
Cole said aerial fireworks are illegal for a reason and shooting them off is a class one misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine.
“What we ask is if people see something ongoing or several fireworks being shot off, not to wait till it's done and to let us know ahead of time," Cole said.
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