Port Hueneme Police Attempt New Approach to Combatting Illegal Fireworks

With almost four weeks till the Fourth of July, we are once again beginning to see an increase in the number of fireworks related phone calls.  Each year, in all communities, the holiday is used as a justification for the discharge of illegal fireworks. Each year, the Port Hueneme Police Department receives hundreds of complaints regarding illegal fireworks on July 4th, and the days leading to the Fourth of July.  The complaints range from pets that are extremely frightened by the noise and commotion of fireworks, to veterans who suffer an adverse reaction to fireworks.  Each year and despite warnings, fireworks account for numerous fires as well as physical injuries to citizens across the County of Ventura.  In the City of Port Hueneme, All fireworks are prohibited.

The Police Department has tried a variety of strategies over the years, from public information campaigns, to a zero tolerance approach and heavy enforcement. Each of these efforts has had limited effect. On years when we tried the educational approach, we were criticized for not doing enough enforcement. On years were we tried the enforcement approach, we were accused of being heavy handed and “un-American”!

Along with education and enforcement, we are encouraging residents to contact our tip-line via phone or email so we can focus our efforts on repeat fireworks offenders.  You can email your complaints regarding illegal fireworks to: [email protected] or by calling (805) 986-6539. Your information will remain confidential.  We will be contacting those offenders/locations and advising them we will be focusing on fireworks activity in their neighborhood.  The fine for possession, sales, and setting off illegal fireworks starts at $1000 and may result in arrest.  Help us out by talking to your neighbors and sharing this message with family and friends.

This year we will have additional Police Department staff to focus on fireworks related complaints. Emphasis will be placed upon seizing fireworks and citing those who possess or sell them in the City of Port Hueneme, especially our beautiful beaches. Our goal has always been, and will continue to be, voluntary compliance with the law.  Unfortunately, our resources should be spent elsewhere but this continues to be a significant quality of life issue which our residents are passionate about. 

We live in a community which centers around a military installation.  Many of these military veterans have retired in our beautiful community and call the City of Port Hueneme their home.  Many of our veterans have valiantly served in our armed forces and we are asking people to be considerate of the emotional distress that may be caused by the use fireworks.

We have also created a webpage which recites this very same information and also reminds our citizens of the different methods available to report the illegal use of fireworks in our city.  The webpage also lists the specific city ordinances and State of California Penal Code violations along with tips to protect your pets.  You can find this page at www.cityofporthueneme.org under the Police Department Links page.

We encourage our citizens to attend the many large and professional fireworks shows throughout our county including fireworks planned in Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Moorpark (July 3rd), Simi Valley, Calabasas, Channel Islands Harbor, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Agoura Hills (July 9th), Woodland Hills, Camarillo, Ventura and Santa Barbara.  We would like to remind our citizens that the City of Fillmore is the only city you can purchase or use fireworks, of ANY KIND, in the County of Ventura. 

Please join us at the Channel Islands Harbor Fireworks Celebration on July 4th at 9:00 p.m. and forgo the unlawful fireworks. Illegal fireworks are dangerous, they harm your neighbor, they scare our pets, they’re a fire hazard, and they are costing valuable Police Staff resources that could be used in other areas of the City. Please join us in celebrating legally this year! Have a safe Fourth of July weekend!

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