Fort Collins citations up, fireworks complaints down over Fourth of July

The use of illegal fireworks and complaints this Independence Day was lower than in past years.

From June 28 through July 6 (the annual peak of fireworks complaints), the City of Fort Collins saw a 36 percent reduction in fireworks-related complaints and a significant increase in citations and seizure of unlawful fireworks when comparing 2013 numbers to 2011, leading officials to believe education coupled with a comprehensive enforcement approach and zero tolerance was effective.

Authorities handed out 30 citations for fireworks violations, said Fort Collins Police Lt. Mike Trombley. The possession and use (without a permit) of fireworks of any kind in the city of Fort Collins is illegal with a violation resulting in a summons into municipal court and a fine of $1,000.

Last year was a statistical anomaly as multiple wildfires roared throughout the state resulting in a statewide fire and fireworks ban skewing comparison data. The City used 2011 as the benchmark year for comparisons netting the following:

2011 – 478 complaints, 7 citations, no tracking on the amount of fireworks seized
2012 – 99 complaints, 8 citations, 15 lbs. of fireworks seized
2013 – 308 complaints, 30 citations, over 60 lbs. of fireworks seized.

Of the 308 complaints received over the 9 days, approximately half came in during a 7-hour period on July 4th. Frequently, one fireworks event is called in by several complainants. Evidence is needed to prove the person cited was in possession or discharged the fireworks.

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