Lakewood is known throughout Southern California as a city that takes strong action and does everything it can to deter and reduce the use of illegal fireworks.
A team of 18 Deputy Sheriffs and 5 civilian Community Safety Officers (CSOs) patrolled Lakewood on the night of July 4 responding to calls about illegal fireworks; seizing over 270 pounds of skyrockets, explosives and other illegal fireworks; and issuing citations that can run up to $2,000 or more.
The Lakewood law enforcement team responded to 126 calls from residents about illegal fireworks on July 4. That compares to 187 calls last year, so a 33% reduction in the reported use. (Some incidents generate multiple calls, so each call does not necessarily equal a single incident. Also, Deputies must witness fireworks being used in order to issue citations.)
Over the four nights of July 1-4, there was a 30% total reduction in resident calls about illegal fireworks compared to the same overall holiday period last year.
“We know there was still a lot of illegal fireworks use, especially if it was happening near your house,” said Mayor Steve Croft. “But I hope Lakewood residents appreciate the amount of effort that their city puts into battling the use of illegal fireworks and keeping it from being even worse. I want to thank the residents who took the time to call in about illegal fireworks use or used the Lakewood Connect App…and all the Deputy Sheriffs and Lakewood public safety staff who worked hard over the July 1-4 period.”
This year, the City of Lakewood focused even more resources on combating illegal fireworks. This included expanded public education on the dangers that illegal fireworks pose to veterans, pets and neighbors.
Illegal fireworks, such as skyrockets, have caused houses to burn to the ground in Lakewood and nearby cities. Skyrockets can land under the shingles of roofs and slowly burn into the attic where they can cause a catastrophic fire, often hours later when no one is awake. “Safe and sane” fireworks do not go into the air or explode.
The problem of illegal fireworks use has grown in recent years throughout California and the nation. It is not a Lakewood-specific problem. There’s no difference between cities that allow “safe and sane” fireworks, like Lakewood, and those that don’t, like Long Beach. Both kinds of cities have a similar problem with people who choose to use dangerous, illegal fireworks.
If you know an address that used illegal fireworks this year, report it (anonymously if you want) to the city’s Tip Line at (562) 866-9771, ext. 7233 or use the Lakewood Connect app. Deputy Sheriffs will put that address on their patrol list for next year.