CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Law enforcement agencies in Contra Costa County are teaming up to crack down on a recent rash of fireworks calls that they say are terrorizing people and neighborhoods.
In Richmond alone, fireworks calls have jumped more than 80-percent from just this time last year.
Officials believe there are several factors behind the calls but tracking down those responsible they say isn’t easy.
Police in Contra Costa County are in the middle of a fireworks fight.
“Every year we normally start seeing calls around early June. This year we started receiving calls as early as April,” Interim Chief Bisa French said.
In Richmond, fireworks calls have jumped 82-percent from this time last year.
“People have been idle for a long time, and so its fireworks season, we know there’s not going to be a lot of events and shows this year and we think that’s a reason why people are going out and getting fireworks on their own,” French said.
Law enforcement and fire agencies from Richmond, El Cerrito, and San Pablo police departments are teaming up to crack down on fireworks calls.
Some agencies are using already depleted resources, to get more officers on the streets.
“Just this week we pulled a unit that was off their regular assignments, so we’re hoping to catch more people in the act,” French said.
In San Pablo, the extra officers uncovered some fireworks and more.
“We had another one where they ended up catching the subject that had an assault rifle, and he did have a huge box of fireworks on him,” Lt. Shawn Ray with the San Pablo Police Department said.
Officials worry about impacts fireworks could have on pets, those suffering from PTSD, and the possible damage to homes.
Fire crews in Pleasant Hill battled this large grass fire Tuesday night they say was sparked by a firework.
Police say they want to catch those responsible but they need help from the public.
“The only way really to stop it is to work with law enforcement and make sure we identify where they’re coming from and who possesses them,” an official said.
Possession of fireworks is a misdemeanor in Contra Costa County.
Richmond police have issued at least one citation but they’re hoping a new reward program, will generate more tips, that can lead to more fireworks being discovered.
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