July 5, 2018 6:25 pm

Fireworks, legal and illegal, light up L.A. sky on Fourth of July

WATCH ABOVE: Los Angeles skies were set ablaze with spectacular fireworks on the Fourth of July, but not all of them were legal


Fourth of July and fireworks go hand in hand in the United States. On its 242nd birthday on Wednesday, as the skies lit up across the country, a news helicopter captured the Los Angeles skyline set ablaze with fireworks. But not all of them were legal.

While there were over a dozen legal fireworks shows scheduled in L.A., NBC’s Newschopper4 Bravo captured fireworks, far beyond what a dozen shows would have set off.

Exact numbers for how many fireworks were set off couldn’t be found.

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“We don’t have statistics on that,” said Christopher No, an officer with the Los Angeles Police Media Relations.

READ MORE: Phasing out fireworks? North American cities opt for drones, ‘quiet fireworks’

According to an April 2018 study prepared by the chief legislative analyst for Los Angeles, under current California law, fireworks are divided into two categories: “dangerous” fireworks and “safe and sane” fireworks.

The possession, sale, and use of “dangerous” fireworks by the general public is illegal in the state of California. The report, written by Joshua W. Drake, also showed that the number of calls to the LAPD about illegal fireworks jumped from 5,532 in 2013 to 8,204 in 2017.

A July 2 tweet from LAPD Communications Division showed that the department was accepting reports of illegal fireworks online for a limited time.

While Officer No was unable to provide exact numbers on how many calls the LAPD received, a tweet from July 5 showed that the department received 760 reports between 4:00pm on July 4 to 4:00am on July 5.

The complaint portal will be available till July 9.

The process of reporting illegal fireworks is as simple as calling the LAPD. However, finding the culprits based on those calls can be a challenge. Drake’s study noted that it’s often difficult to find the culprits because “a caller states they can see fireworks but is unable to identify the launch location.” In addition, those lighting the fireworks often leave the scene before the police arrive.

The LAPD also told CBS News that it’s hard to bust everyone lighting up illegal fireworks because officers have to prioritize.

READ MORE: Using fireworks at home? Make sure you do it safely

Officer No could not specify how long it would take to follow up on the 760 reports the LAPD received.

“There’s so much information or calls that were generated,” said Officer No. “It’s going to take some time. I don’t know how long. It can be a day or so.”

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