All fireworks are illegal in Oxnard. Despite this, each year during the month leading up to July 4th, the Oxnard Police Department receives many fireworks complaints. In 2020, 3329 fireworks calls were received during the month leading up to July 4th; 1,078 of the calls were received on the July 4th weekend. On the 4th of July itself, during the 8-hour time frame between 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., the Department received 715 fireworks calls. However, in 2021 there was a significant decrease in the number of fireworks calls received during the month leading up to July 4th with 499 reported for the entire month; 314 of them were received during the holiday weekend, and 237 of them received during the evening hours of July 4th.
Fireworks are a significant nuisance to the majority of our residents and they can be extremely dangerous. For example, in 2019 a young adult male was tragically killed in our city by a mortar that exploded. Each year fireworks land on rooftops and cause structure fires in the city. Fireworks also cause emotional distress for many of our residents particularly those suffering from PTSD. They can also be very distressing for pets. Many of our residents resort to administering prescription sedatives to their pets to help them cope with fireworks.
The above reasons demonstrate why the Oxnard Police Department has a zero tolerance enforcement approach towards fireworks. While it is often very difficult for officers to catch fireworks violators, each year the Department nonetheless prioritizes deploying as many police resources as reasonably possible towards fireworks enforcement. Last year, as a result of the dedicated and comprehensive fireworks enforcement efforts, the Department issued far more fireworks citations than any other police department in Ventura County.
Any individual caught using, or possessing fireworks, is subject to a fine ranging from $250-$1000; “Safe and Sane“ fireworks (sparklers, cones, flowers, etc.) carry a $250 fine; while “Dangerous” fireworks (firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, M80s, mortars, etc.) carry a $1000 fine.
In preparation for the upcoming fireworks enforcement effort, the Department will again be positioning message trailers in specific areas of the city where last year had heavy fireworks activity. The message trailers will display information reminding residents that fireworks are illegal and informing them of the fines. Additionally, the Department has already begun mailing warning letters to addresses where fireworks activity was reported last year. The letters advise the residents that their addresses will be closely monitored this year for any repeat violations.
The Department’s Crime Reduction Unit plays a valuable role in this effort by analyzing recent fireworks calls and regularly updating patrol officers of the specific locations where fireworks are occurring. Officers starting their shifts are asked to target those specific addresses for enforcement purposes during their patrols. Throughout the month leading up to July 4th, Neighborhood Policing Team (NPT) officers will be proactively sending out warning notices to specific addresses where fireworks activity is being reported. Furthermore, in the weeks leading up to July 4th, NPT officers will be teaming up with Fire Department and Code Compliance personnel and conducting periodic undercover fireworks suppression operations at night that will involve the use of a drone, to help pinpoint addresses where fireworks are occurring.
This year the Department is planning another comprehensive fireworks enforcement effort on July 4th utilizing all available resources within reason. This means that many officers who would normally have Independence Day off have been assigned to work, including officers in specialized lateral assignments such as our NPT, Homeless Liaison Unit, Special Enforcement Unit, and Traffic Unit. The Department will deploy the officers in a multitude of capacities including uniformed patrol, undercover operations, motorcycle, bicycle, and foot patrols. Additionally, the Department will deploy several drones to detect locations where fireworks are occurring. Police personnel will team up with the Oxnard Fire Department and Oxnard Code Compliance Department in this comprehensive team effort.
The City of Oxnard has a social host ordinance which holds property owners responsible for fireworks activity occurring on, or from, their property. Last year, for the second time, the Department used a drone on the 4th of July which aided in identifying specific addresses where fireworks were being used. However, given the high volume of fireworks calls on July 4th, officers were not always able to immediately contact the property owners/renters to issue a citation. Nonetheless, NPT officers followed up by mailing fireworks citations to the property owners during the month of July to ensure they were held accountable for the illegal/dangerous activity occurring on their property. The Department will follow the same procedure this year but will be using enhanced drone resources. Property owners where dangerous fireworks are occurring will be subject to receiving a citation for $1000.
The Oxnard Police Department is respectfully asking all of our residents to celebrate Independence Day safely, and respect the peace and well-being of their neighbors and their pets, by refraining from using fireworks.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Fireworks Cellphone Line (905-307-6308) Dedicated line specifically for fireworks complaints. Carried by an NPT officer while on duty to take down specific information of problematic locations where fireworks are occurring at.
- Fireworks Tips via Email ([email protected]) Please provide specific information regarding locations, days, and times
- Fireworks Hotline (805-394-5884) Callers can remain anonymous
- Oxnard Police Department Non-Emergency Number (805-385-7740) Use for reporting fireworks activity in progress. Please recognize that fireworks calls are prioritized based on other calls for service pending throughout the city.