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Fireworks calls in Kent drop by 6.5% compared to last year

358 calls this year about fireworks; 383 in 2020

Fireworks calls to Kent Police dropped to 358 this year from 383 in 2020, a 6.5% decline over July 1-5.

“The good news is we did see a small decrease in numbers from 2020,” Police Chief Rafael Padilla said during his July 20 Public Safety report to the City Council.

The numbers from previous years included 245 calls in 2019; 297 in 2018; and 430 in 2017, which was the first year of the city’s fireworks ban.

“They took a dive in 2018 and took a turn up in 2020,” Padilla said about the 56% jump from 2019. “I’d speculate maybe it had something to do with the lack of public shows (canceled due to COVID-19). The numbers were still high this year.”

As with last year, police didn’t aggressively enforce the fireworks ban.

“Our approach was we did not go out and try to make a bunch of arrests,” Padilla said. “We talked to people.”

The chief said Mayor Dana Ralph joined him on patrol to see what Fourth of July night was like.

“There were hundreds of fireworks going off,” Padilla said.

Padilla said many of the 911 calls about fireworks during July 1-5 peaked at about 9 p.m. and began to taper off around 11 p.m. He said there were very few calls during the day.

The council passed a fireworks ban in 2016 in part because 62% of voters approved a ban in a November 2015 advisory vote to the council. It is illegal to discharge fireworks at any time, and subject to a $250 ticket and the seizure of your fireworks. The discharge of fireworks in a reckless manner or possession of more than 20 pounds is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

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