So far three Manteca residents are having a memorable Fourth of July thanks to their decision to illegally modify Safe & Sane Fireworks or launch banned fireworks.
That’s because they were issued citations over the weekend as part of a crackdown by Manteca Police and Fire personnel that will end up costing them $1,000 apiece.
And if last year’s is any indication upwards of 30 people will be paying $1,000 each for launching illegal firework by the time midnight rolls around on Saturday.
That’s because the fireworks patrols in unmarked vehicles will not only take place this Wednesday and Thursday but Friday and Saturday as well.
Fire Administration Chief Officer Lantz Rey said that is due to the Fourth of July falling midweek in a Thursday.
“We figure a lot of people will use Friday and Saturday to shoot off fireworks,” Rey said.
And given it is after the seven day period that ends Thursday at midnight when fireworks that are legal can be used, even Safe & Sane Fireworks will be illegal this upcoming weekend.
Two of the three citations issued this weekend were for modifying legal fireworks in a way that made them illegal by allowing them to become airborne.
Officers this year are armed with “hot spot” maps created from data recoded by residents using the Nail ‘Em app that provided the city with spots where illegal fireworks were launched last year that police were not able to catch in the act. That combined with dispatch calls last year of locations officers couldn’t reach in time to issue citations means the patrols know the exact locations of where illegal fireworks are likely to be used.
The city’s host ordinance requires only that the property where fireworks are launched from be identified and not the person actually setting off the fireworks. Not only is that significantly easier to verify, but because it is through the administrative process and not the court system the citations are resolved fairly quickly with the city prevailing in the vast majority of cases.
Almost every citation that has been issued in the past three years has resulted in the person in control of the property where they were launched from, whether it was a homeowner or a renter, being successfully slapped with a $750 fine plus being assessed with all the costs the city incurred citing and prosecuting the case.
Forty-six people have paid fines in the past three years for illegal fireworks using costing them a combined $45,000.
The goal is to make the financial hit hard enough to force people to drastically cut down on illegal fireworks.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org