It was “business as usual” when it came to illegal fireworks in Richmond on July 4, according to Mayor Tom Butt, although Police Chief Allwyn Brown says the problem appears to have improved over past years.
In his e-forum newsletter today, Butt joined an echo among residents noting a lot of illegal fireworks use on Independence Day in the city, with the constantly loud noises frightening dogs and keeping the police busy.
“From my home on the hill in Point Richmond, I can see and hear it all,” he said. “I got the usual frantic complaints, and social media was burning up on the subject. Some recommended skipping the sanctioned fireworks shows sponsored by various municipalities, climb to a high point like Nichol Knob, and enjoy a bigger, better (and certainly longer) show from the streets and backyards of Richmond.”
The mayor said the city’s fireworks ordinance “gets about the same respect as he 55 mile per hours speed limit on highways.”
Butt shared a note from police Chief Allwyn Brown about the illegal fireworks, including about an operation that added additional officers to the streets who used Shotspotter and calls-for-service data to monitor hotspots. Over 50 officers, sergeants and lieutenants patrolled micro-beats and seized hundreds of pounds of fireworks, arrested an arsonist, and broke up a sideshow involving over a hundred cars before it got started, according to police Capt. Al Walle, who headed up the operation.