Fireworks complaints still dog police, but numbers continue to dwindle

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City fireworks infractions down, but stil a concern. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - It's been three years since Rochester's Fireworks Ordinance was put in place, but Rochester Police found over the recent Fourth of July weekend there's still a lot of residents who continue to flout the law, whether unwittingly or not.

If there is a silver lining, however, it's this: that over the three years the number of fireworks complaints has gone down drastically each Independence Day.

According to Rochester Police statistics, between July1-9 in 2017 there were 74 fireworks complaints, compared to 53 during the same timeframe in 2018 and 44 this year when also no summonses were issued.

Many of the calls ended up being a teaching experience for residents.

"A lot of it was educational," Rochester Police Capt. Todd Pinkham said on Tuesday. "We'd speak with people and explain the ordinance to them. Officers are given a lot of leeway to use their judgement in individual cases."

That judgment sometimes gets tested when officers get calls to the same address more than once, but Pinkham said while the police logs don't reflect the exact address of calls, police keep a record and can keep tabs on repeat offenders.

The city's ordinance only allows the setting off of fireworks after a permit has been issued. Even with a permit, they are only allowed on July 3 and July 4 between the hours from 6 p.m. to midnight. Other rules apply. The ordinance can be read in full - note Section 23.13 - by clicking here.

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