Ahead of Fourth of July, tracking illegal fireworks activity is a tricky act for police. But this year, they're asking for the public's help so they can better target problem areas.

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Ahead of Fourth of July, tracking illegal fireworks activity is a tricky act for police. But this year, they're asking for the public's help so they can better target problem areas.

Fire and police agencies are using feedback on ispyfireworks.com, a page to report illegal fireworks, and they plan to work together using that data to combat the issue.

"For the last few weeks, we've been looking," said Captain Joshua Martinez with the Enterprise area command of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

One local's idea of a celebration is another's opportunity to write a ticket.

"Our officers are still taking that enforcement action leading up to the holiday weekend," Martinez said. "It's $250 on the first offense, $500 on the second offense, and the max fine would be $1,250."

Metro Police have been conducting planning meetings so they can keep the issue under control this year.

"It is the busiest day of the year for us," said Tim Szymanski, public education and information officer with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.

They said illegal fireworks are illegal for a reason: they're dangerous.

"In one case one of the rockets went sideways and hit a child in the back, and she was in the burn unit for a couple of months because of those injuries sustained from that," said Szymanski.

Martinez added, "Our job is to prevent those tragic incidences from occurring."

If a resident hears or sees illegal fireworks, they're asked to report it at ispyfireworks.com. Illegal fireworks are the kind that pop in the air.

"That website can be used right now, so if ... somebody that you know has illegal fireworks and they're in possession of them, you can go ahead and report that and then we'd follow up on that," Martinez said.

While a Metro spokesperson said they couldn't possibly come out to each and every report of a firework, their goal, "is to try to get to every call of service that is placed," according to Martinez.

Residents are also urged to submit a complaint if they see someone in possession of unignited fireworks as well.

"Say you have a neighbor, or you know somebody that went and purchased a large sum of illegal fireworks in their house. We wouldn't want a house fire to occur," Martinez said.

Fourth of July 2017 in Southern Nevada

Fireworks light up the sky above downtown Las Vegas for the Fourth of July holiday.

This time last year, the areas most affected by fireworks remained largely on the southwest side of Las Vegas. Areas where the most activity occurred are zip codes 89139 and 89148.

"It could just be Enterprise area command is a large residential," Martinez said.

One local woman who lives in the Enterprise area said this year, they have had enough.

"This year, we're going out of town because there's just too many fireworks," said Tammy Hollis.

Tracking illegal fireworks activity is a tricky act for local police, but this year they're asking for residents' help.

She said in the 17 years she's been there, the illegal fireworks have gotten more frequent, something that really affects her rescue dog named Moose.

"He shakes, sheds a lot, tries to hide in the closets, tries to get behind things, just, he's just a nervous wreck, drools a lot," Hollis said.

She said she issued a complaint last year because the fireworks kept going off until 3 or 4 a.m.

"Oh yeah, you can see them, you can see them from our backyard, you can see them all over our house," Hollis said. "We've had [our dog] on meds for two weeks so that it'll start calming him now in case they start tonight."

On the weekend of the Fourth of July, Metro officers will be riding with Clark County Fire Department officials to respond to illegal fireworks activity.

"It'll be a taskforce of personnel from the fire department and Metro, and so Metro will go out with them," Martinez said.

"The fire department is there as technical advisors, so when those teams go out we're just there to help the officers determine which is legal or illegal, and the ones that are confiscated by law enforcement we will make sure that they are properly disposed of," said Szymanski.

Martinez said Metro designated certain officers to be on fireworks duty throughout the weekend, and that they'll be using the ispyfireworks.com data in real time to inform patrol location decisions.

"That way we're effectively using the personnel we have on duty for the weekend," Martinez said. "We want to make sure everybody enjoys the Fourth of July weekend, and celebrates appropriately, and is able to end the weekend safely."

In the meantime, Hollis isn't taking any chances, and is taking their dog and going up into the mountains for a vacation.

"Through the years gotten worse," Hollis said.

To report fireworks, officials urge residents to use ispyfireworks.com or 311, unless it's the weekend of the Fourth of July, in which case they are urging everyone to only submit complaints to ispyfireworks.com.

Refrain from calling 911 to report fireworks complaints.

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(1) comment


Right, like they are really going to do anything about it. There will still be morons in neighborhoods setting off illegal fireworks and nothing will be done about it. It's not a priority.

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