Bay Area Cities Using Fireworks Sales For the Greater Good

The Fourth of July holiday is just around the corner, and for many Americans, the day just isn't complete without fireworks. Of course, the severe droughts and wildfires California has experienced over the past years means that many local governments around the state have banned the possession, sale and use of all fireworks outright. However, in the San Francisco Bay area there are a number of municipalities that are fighting against this trend and instead using the public demand for fireworks as a way to help combat police costs associated with the holiday or to benefit local charitable organizations.

While the majority of Bay area cities have banned fireworks, the cities of Cloverdale, Dublin, Newark, Pacifica, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, San Bruno, Sebastopol and Union City all still allow the sale of some fireworks. However, any projectile or exploding fireworks are still banned, which means that shops in these cities mostly sell things like sparklers, snakes and smoke bombs.

By selling these so-called 'safe and sane' fireworks, some enterprising cities are finding new ways to benefit their local budgets. Pacifica is one of the most obvious examples, where fireworks can only be sold by non-profit organizations. In addition to directly benefitting these non-profits, the city also adds an 8% surcharge to all fireworks sales and this money goes directly to offset the costs of policing the Fourth of July holiday.

The holiday alone is thought to cost the city around $33,000 a year in additional policing, which is in part due to the fact that Pacifica also tends to have a problem with illegal fireworks. Residents in some part of the city seem to feel that it is their right to use illegal fireworks, and in previous years, police have received reports of individuals being threatened by their neighbors for complaining about their illegal fireworks use.

Of course, it is not just Pacifica police that have to combat the problem of illegal fireworks. Police departments around the Bay area and across California spend much of the early summer months leading up to the Fourth of July trying to track down and arrest anyone engaged in buying or selling illegal fireworks. Recently, cops have had several high profile busts and seized hundreds of pounds of fireworks.

Nonetheless, despite their best efforts, illegal fireworks continue to be a major problem across the state. So much so that many police departments are forced to have far more officers on duty in order to keep with the many violations and complaints.


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