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DOWNEY – Despite extensive public outreach and the threat of heavy fines, Downey city council members admitted this week that illegal fireworks rained over the city on Independence Day, and there may not be much more the city can do about it.
“The fines didn’t quite have the desired effect,” declared Councilman Roger Brossmer, adding that the amount of illegal fireworks in his neighborhood were “not as bad” as last year but closer in proximity to his home.
“It was going nuts,” added Mayor Fernando Vasquez. “It was fireworks galore…Clearly the fines are not enough.”
Downey police officers issued 25 fireworks-related citations on July 4, each carrying a $2,000 fine, said Mayor Pro Tem Luis Marquez.
Police officers appeared to be simply outnumbered. According to Councilman Mario Guerra, the police department received 185 fireworks-related call for service between 6-10 p.m.
“It was still crazy (despite the fines),” said Guerra. “It’s bad. We need to keep getting better.”
“Twenty-five (citations) doesn’t seem like very many compared to the tremendous number of illegal fireworks that were exploding all around the city,” resident Kathy Perez wrote on the Patriot’s Facebook page. “I called DPD because my neighbors’ party guests drove us inside after repeated explosions set off my daughter’s car alarm and we feared for our safety. They continued their barrage for two hours. Their “fun” definitely trespassed on our right to enjoy our holiday. Rude and disrespectful people who broke the law!
“I know that the PD was overwhelmed with calls, but something needs to be done to stop this extremely dangerous and horribly upsetting activity to continue.”
But not everyone thinks illegal fireworks deserve to be outlawed.
“I enjoy looking up at the Downey sky and seeing the aerials in every direction. Everyone just needs to be smart whether their fireworks are legal or illegal,” said resident Michelle Farina. “I saw police on patrol and felt that they were watching over us just fine. Glad to hear there were only 25 citations.”
Published: July 10, 2014 – Volume 13 – Issue 13