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

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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.