Illegal fireworks less prevalent during recession

Illegal fireworks less prevalent during recession

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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- The recession may be taking a toll on illegal fireworks displays in Utah.

Salt Lake City police and Salt Lake County sheriff's dispatchers both say they've received fewer calls and complaints about both illegal and legal fireworks this year.

In Salt Lake City, Det. Dennis McGowan says it's highly possible that as cities cut back on their official displays because of budget concerns, people are doing the same with illegal neighborhood displays.

Other jurisdictions KSL spoke to are unsure if calls have gone down. They are more certain, though, that they have not seen additional calls compared to other years.

Even so, police agencies are not letting their guard down. Unified Fire Capt. Clint Smith says two recent fires in the valley were caused by fireworks. One of them burned 2.5 acres Monday near Interstate 215 at 5000 South.

Safety is also a grave concern. "Fireworks, it's always a safety issue," McGowan said. "Never allow children to handle fireworks without being attended by an adult."

Salt Lake City police will be watching city parks closely during the July 24 holiday weekend. McGowan says there is a chance that somebody lighting off even a legal firework could be in violation of code.

"It's quite possible because parks are public property versus a home, which is private property," McGowan said. "Different rules and different statutes, obviously, govern private property versus public property."

McGowan says officers have been trained on guidelines of what is legal, and what is not.


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