Crime & Courts

Fewer fireworks citations issued this year; complaints dip slightly

Wichita offers fireworks safety tips

Here are some safety tips from the Wichita Fire Department. (Courtesy of the city of Wichita)
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Here are some safety tips from the Wichita Fire Department. (Courtesy of the city of Wichita)

Citations issued for illegal fireworks usage in Wichita might be down this year, but the number of complaints called in are similar to statistics from the Fourth of July last year.

Wichita Police Department and Wichita Fire Department issued 58 tickets this year at $250 a pop, Stuart Bevis, fire marshal, said. Last year, almost 140 tickets were issued.

Between July 1 and July 6 this year, about 1,300 complaints were called into the nonemergency line across Sedgwick County. Of those complaints, more than 1,100 came from within the city of Wichita, Bevis said. Last year, 1,400 complaints were called in county-wide, but numbers weren’t available for complaints made only in Wichita.

Bevis said there’s “no way to tell” if some of the complaints were called in by the same individual complaining about the same use of illegal fireworks.

“It’s way too early to see why we had less citations written,” Bevis said.

However, Bevis said he believes the “right amount of tickets” were issued for the amount of people involved in the enforcement efforts.

It’s also too soon to know how many fireworks-related fire incidents there were this holiday, Bevis said. He was certain that there were at least two incidents related to fireworks. Data cannot be accurately gathered and reported, Bevis said, until all of the reporting officers turn in the paperwork from each incident.

In the coming weeks, data from the fireworks enforcement units will be collected and analyzed to go into an internal report, Bevis said. That data could inform future enforcement plans for the Fourth of July.

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