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With Fireworks Complaints on the Rise, San Bernardino Police Use Higher Fines

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The loud booms and cracks of fireworks are on the rise as the July 4 holiday nears. In an effort to deter illegal use this year, the City of San Bernardino voted to increase fines in April.

“We don’t want you to hurt yourself or a neighbor or cause a fire by being unsafe so that’s the whole purpose that the measures are in place,” says Sergeant John Echevarria, spokesman for the San Bernardino Police Department Community Affairs Division.

Like last year, fireworks labeled “Safe and Sane”, meaning they don’t fly, move across the ground or cause loud bangs, can only be used south of the 210 freeway.

Now under the new city measure, the fines for using legal fireworks outside of designated areas will start at $1,000. While illegal fireworks, which include firecrackers, roman candles and sparklers, face a steeper first offense fine of $2,500 and increases for repeat offenses.

Echevarria also asks that you think of your neighbors before lighting illegal aerial fireworks.

“We have a high population of elderly or people that have pets and with the loud bangs from the fireworks it startles the residents and it frightens the animals,” says Echevarria.

The reward for information which results in a successful charge is $250. Echevarria says it’s important to call with details on the location, type of firework, times and frequency. And to understand that if the officers responding to the location of complaint don’t see the violation occurring, they will ask the witness to lead them to the violator and place them under a private person’s arrest.

The number to report illegal use is (909) 383-5311, but for cases of injury and fire call 9-1-1. More information on fireworks safety can be found on the city website here.

Editor's note: Due to a revision in city planning, a schedule of public fireworks displays was removed. Please check back for updates.