One of the great summer traditions of our country is the shooting of fireworks on and around Independence Day. While they may be beautiful and thunderous, in the wrong hands, fireworks can be deadly. The Alton Police Department and the entire City government will be taking a pro-active approach to enforcing the firework ordinances of the City.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that unauthorized shooting of fireworks is against the law in Illinois. According to 10-2-3 and 10-2-4 of the City Code of the City of Alton, it is “unlawful for any person to knowingly possess, offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks” unless a permit has been issued by the Mayor.
During one five-week period in 2009, the Alton Police Department responded to 122 calls of illegal discharge of fireworks. As of June 17, 2010, the Police Department has already responded to 22 calls reporting illegal fireworks in the City. This year, the Police Department will be issuing non-traffic citations to those individuals found with or discharging fireworks. If a person receives one of these citations, they will be required to appear before a judge and ordered to pay a fine. If they fail to appear at the court hearing, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.
The fireworks laws are in place to protect people and property from the unsafe use of fireworks. Several past incidents exist in Alton of people being injured, animals being disturbed, and property damaged by fire during the illegal use of fireworks.
I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day. If you see people illegally possessing or discharging fireworks, please call the Police Department at 463-3505. By reporting the illegal use of fireworks, residents will be making their City a safer place to celebrate summer activities. The last thing any of us want to see is someone spending their 4th of July in the hospital because of the illegal use of fireworks. Working together, we all can have a safe and happy summer.