Authorities in Long Beach were busy during this year’s Independence Day weekend, seizing nearly 700 pounds of fireworks on July 4 and fielding multiple firework-related incidents while serving calls across the city.
Though no injuries or property damage was reported, according to a memo from the city, police arrested 14 people and cited four more in Long Beach’s effort to curb illegal fireworks.
Overall, 1,025 pounds of fireworks were recovered during Long Beach’s firework enforcement efforts, which began on May 20 and will continue through July, according to city officials. That’s a significant decrease from last year, when enforcement efforts from December 2021 through July 2022 led to the recovery of over 16,000 pounds of fireworks.
Though the city earlier this month said its efforts to curb illegal fireworks have reduced the problem significantly since 2020, data shows that there was a small increase in fireworks-related reports leading up to Independence Day weekend this year.
According to the city, nearly 900 fireworks-related reports were made leading up to and on July 4. There were 752 fireworks-related calls in 2022.
This year, police issued 29 letters that essentially serve as warnings to the recipient that if they continue to discharge illegal fireworks, they may face prosecution under California law.
The Long Beach Fire Department, meanwhile, experienced a 15% increase in total calls for services from Saturday to Tuesday, and a 202% increase in outdoor fire-related calls compared to the average number of calls they receive during any other days of the year, according to the city.
This was an increase from last year, when the LBFD saw a 7% increase in total calls of services and a 131% increase in outdoor fire-related calls.
In addition, Long Beach lifeguards just on July 4 responded to 102 swim rescues and 15 boat rescues, a 300% increase compared to any other Tuesday in the summertime, according to the city.