Council Recap: Illegal fireworks prevention plan

Published on March 15, 2023

Council Recap monument sign

At their Tuesday evening meeting, Lakewood City Council Members discussed a staff report on the city’s 2023 plan for combating the use of illegal fireworks in Lakewood.

The problem of illegal fireworks use has grown significantly in recent years throughout California and the nation, and unfortunately Lakewood is not immune from the issue.

“It doesn’t matter whether a community allows or disallows ‘safe-and-sane’ fireworks. The problem of illegal fireworks is the same in both types of communities,” said Lakewood Public Safety Director Josh Yordt. “But, despite the challenges, Lakewood is known throughout Southern California as a city that does everything it can to deter and reduce the use of illegal fireworks. And Lakewood has been consulted by other communities for tips and advice on steps to take.”

Here’s what the City of Lakewood is planning for 2023:

  • Deploy an extra team of Deputy Sheriffs and public safety personnel on July 4th and in the days leading up to the 4th to issue citations and seize illegal fireworks. The city issued 50 citations last year.
  • The city will impose large fines on people with illegal fireworks, with total penalties that Lakewood has increased in recent years that can add up to $2,000 or more.     
  • Lakewood Deputy Sheriffs will do undercover sting operations in advance of July 4th, targeting the purchase of illegal fireworks by Lakewood residents.
  • Lakewood will carry out its innovative public information campaign about the dangers of illegal fireworks and the harm to veterans, pets and other sensitive populations. Lakewood will start that campaign early this year, beginning on April 1 with street banners and articles in the city’s magazine and the community newspaper.

How Lakewood residents can help              

  • If you see or hear illegal fireworks currently in use, please call the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-653-3500.
  • If illegal fireworks are not currently in use, but you know the address where they are repeatedly being used, report it using the Lakewood Connect App or by calling City Hall at 562-866-9771. Deputies can then put that address on their proactive patrol list.   

“We can’t promise to eliminate the use of illegal fireworks in Lakewood,” said City Manager Thaddeus McCormack, “but we can promise to do everything possible to combat and reduce their use. Last year, we saw a 33% decline in reports of illegal fireworks use. We want to build on that trend this year. We’re going to do all that we can…and we hope that our residents will help us out too…so that we can all have a safe, sane…and peaceful holiday.”  

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