Reports of illegal firework use rising this month in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- With Independence Day just more than a week away, Cedar Rapids Police are seeing an uptick in illegal fireworks reports.

The biggest spike this month happened in just the last few days. Records obtained by the I9 investigative team from Cedar Rapids police reveal that on Saturday there were 14 calls, on Sunday there were six, on Monday there were three, and on Tuesday there were six again.

Buying fireworks is legal in the City of Five Seasons but setting them off is not. It is a fact both Kevin Dudley and Bobby Sero, managers of the Iowa Fireworks Company's tent on the City's southwest side, say they remind each of their customers. They also give them a flyer to take home that asks folks to follow their city's rules before they light anything.

"If you're looking to shoot them off, hopefully you've got somebody outside the city limits," Dudley said.

Despite the efforts made by some fireworks tent managers, Cedar Rapids Police have been busy this month with calls from residents reporting illegal firework use. So far, police records show there have been 62 calls in June alerting police to the crime. This has resulted in six tickets being issued.

Jeff Beltz, of Cedar Rapids, says he knows it is illegal to use fireworks in the city. Nevertheless, he has no plans of following the rules.

"Now that they've done this ordinance, its just a joke," Beltz said. "It doesn't matter that they passed the ordinance. No one is going to listen to it. Hell, I haven't even listened to it."

When you compare the number of calls Cedar Rapids police received this month to this same time period last year, the number of calls are actually down 60 percent.