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Clark County and Las Vegas police step up efforts to curb use of illegal fireworks during holiday

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 06:54:52-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The crackdown on illegal fireworks began Tuesday night with officers apart of a special county task force patrolling neighborhoods. Last year Clark County received more than 25,000 illegal fireworks complaints. The county hopes that changes it made in responding to those complaints will make a difference this year.

The yearly celebration of our country’s independence leaves a lot people feeling as though they are doing battle with a new enemy.

“We love the holiday, but we do not enjoy the holiday anymore,” said Kathy Peterson. “Not the way the illegal fireworks have taken over.”

Several people like Kathy packed Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s Northeast Area Command to get an update on the county's efforts to crack down on illegal fireworks.

"The biggest fact for us is that we've had embers land on top of our house, so we literally go nowhere the Fourth of July. We are under attack."

Clark County released showing just a fraction of the tens of thousands of incidents of illegal fireworks reported through the county’s website last year. Already ISpyFireworks.com has logged 1,700 hits this week.

"Illegal fireworks in this community is devastating to a lot of people,” said Captain Jamie Presser.” People have lost their homes from fire. People's kids have been injured."

Independence Day 2017 was particularly rough. 13 Action News obtained video showing a fire started by illegal fireworks. Fireworks were still bursting in the air as crews work to put it out. As a result, the task force put more personnel and technology to use last year mapping out areas where they have the most problems often in east Las Vegas.

"It's based on a heat map technology," said Captain Presser. “So, it creates a heat map for us to deploy our resources."

Now illegal fireworks citations are being treated like parking tickets. A first citation is $250 each citation after that is $500 and illegal fireworks can be confiscated. But Kathy said it still may not be enough.

“The way I look at it if they are spending thousands of dollars, and they are,” she said. “Two hundred-and-fifty dollars is nothing to them. It's almost a joke.”