The (Neighborhood) Fireworks Debate Will (Seemingly) Never End but MPD Wants You To Know They Confiscated Some This Year

fireworks kids
Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

10 years and counting for PoPville…


image1
via MPD

From MPD:

“Good evening. Throughout the night we have received many calls regarding illegal fireworks in the community. The Third District officers have been working extremely hard and have seized several hundred pieces of fireworks so far. I realize that the night is not over and there are still some areas lighting illegal fireworks, so our teams are still out patrolling and recovering the fireworks from the community. We appreciate your patience and continued support as we work on this tonight. Thank you and be safe.”

fireworks_confiscated

and

“I just wanted to share with you some of the firework recoveries that have been made in the Fifth District this Fourth of July season. The officers have been working extremely hard and have made approximately 2300 individual seizures of fireworks. I would like to commend them on their efforts for a job well done.”

223 Comment

  • alissaaa

    It was terrible in Petworth the last couple of nights. The fireworks going off were so loud and close that they actually set off the “glass break” alarm in my security system around 11:00pm last night.

    • Yea, my street was bad in Petworth as well. My poor dog was terrified trying to pee before bed.

      • alissaaa

        We didn’t even try to go out after 5:30pm. I bought a thundershirt for my newer rescue pup, which really seemed to help her a ton. Definitely saw all of the remnants from the fireworks on the sidewalks walking the dogs this morning.

        • Only solution it to bring your dog to a boarding place in the burbs for the Fourth. Sucks that it has to be that way; inconvenient for pet owners, not to mention $$$.

          • She was fine inside, it didn’t even faze her. Just when outside.

          • I’m not sure that this is a guarantee though…I guess it would depend on where. Fireworks are set off everywhere.

          • @eggs Definitely depends on where, but the majority of the burbs aren’t as bad as D.C. When the only fireworks they hear are the “official” kind that last only 20 minutes it’s a much better deal than the all-night-long illegal kind that we have here. @NH My dog can’t deal at all, inside or outside, so it’s the best option.

    • I heard a couple car alarms go off last night. While there’s always been the standard stand-bought fireworks which are not exactly quiet themselves, this year there seemed to be a lot of LEGIT fireworks. Loud booms when launched types. That was a difference this year around me vs. in past years.

  • You forgot the “All day, all night, yes!” option. My vote.

  • I live in the fifth district, specifically Trinidad. Last nights neighborhood fireworks were the worst they’ve been in years. The police sat at the intersection of Trinidad and Morse for a time, but it didn’t stop the teens from lighting their fireworks, leaning on strangers vehicles, or generally disturbing the peace. I don’t know the law about fireworks in the district but there should be a few rules. None after 10:00 pm, not on bus routes on main streets, nothing that makes an explosion that sounds like a bomb went off, clean up your debris. There were fireworks until it started pouring rain about 2:20 or so, they came back lit a few more, and when it started pouring again left for good. Not sure what time I finally fell asleep, but I’m now at work with five hours or less of sleep. Forgive me if I’m not impressed with the amount of fireworks they seized.

  • Petworth was awful last night. Awful. I don’t even think some of the things these kids were using were truly fireworks – more like bombs that make a loud noise. Kids running around with M80s and no parental supervision should not be acceptable. Some fireworks is great, but MPD (or whoever) needs to shut it down at 11pm if the people can’t be trusted to do it on their own. It scares the crap out of babies and dogs too. My guess is that nothing will change until someone is injured though.

    • justinbc

      Yeah I’m not sure if there’s some new type for sale in the area, but I heard way more “bomb” type noises this year than usual.

      • alissaaa

        Yeah, I don’t know what the ones what were making the huge booms were, but those ones were the worst. The actual fireworks weren’t nearly as bad, but those ones felt like explosions/bombs going off.

        • I don’t know if it is what you heard, but I think the bomb-sounding ones are m80s in those giant metal trash bins.

  • I’m curious what circumstances lead them to confiscate fireworks. Anyone in Petworth knows serious and large fireworks are pretty much continuous from 5pm-2am. That is about 0.1% of what was shot off, and it’s not like they would have trouble finding them.
    .
    I don’t care that much, although if I had young children I might feel differently. Most of our neighbors with kids leave town the weekend of the 4th specifically because of the neighborhood fireworks, which I think is really sad.

  • Where I live near U St. was fine. It really quieted down after 10pm and they didn’t appear to set anything on fire. The fireworks that annoyed me were the ones that woke me up at 2am on Friday night….

    • In my part of U St they were setting them off until at least 2am. Whomp.

      • Yikes! Maybe I was just oblivious? That sucks.

        • I think the ones I heard were being set off w/out a large apt/condo building as a buffer. I wonder if the grid system affects noise cancellation.

    • I must live in the same part of U St as flieswithhoney, because I heard them until 1-2 AM. In theory I don’t mind neighborhood fireworks, but since it was on a Monday night it did suck that they went so late.

  • If I hadn’t watched multiple police officers drive right by several extremely obvious and very large stashes of illegal fireworks last night, I would be more impressed.

    • yeah, that’s what’s raising my skeptical eyebrow here. Why on earth would MPD be bragging about a few confiscated toys when their officers could be seen all over town enjoying the illegal show? Why call attention to this when the norm is for the cops to laugh at citizens asking them to intervene?
      I didn’t worry about it this year because it was so damp, the fire risk was low. But it was pretty par for the course– officers leaning against their cars, joking with their buddies, making suggestions to the amateur pyrotechnicians.

    • +1 Not impressed with their seizure at all. We were on the roof of a tall-ish building in southern Co Heights, and definitely witnessed a couple of cop cars just cruising slowly around (I assume to try temp disperse groups). The police were def NOT trying to stop anyone or confiscating anything in my area. As a matter of fact we witnessed one car pull up to a group of very young kids between 9-10pm and say “Looks Good” over their loudspeaker, before driving on.

    • I watched cops talk to kids holding what had to be illegal fireworks (based on their size and similarity to some pictured here) and then a) let two of them go, with fireworks in hand and b) watch another group SET OFF a bunch of Roman Candle type things in front of small children and right next to a car. Insanity.

  • Regardless of how one feels about neighborhood fireworks, if I were the MPD, I’d be embarrassed to “show off” these photos of such a paltry confiscation haul. There were seemingly more illegal fireworks blown off in an hour on my block than are pictured in all of these photos combined. And there were four MPD SUVs parked in the lot across from my house, chillin, while the fireworks festivities were going off all around them/us. Why doesn’t the MPD and the city just tell the truth–dealing with illegal fireworks isn’t a priority?

  • Was pretty nuts in Trinidad, in the vicinity of 13th and Florida and the first couple blocks into Trinny – Morse, Neal, Oates. Roman candle wars, huge mortars, etc. Cops driving around did nothing. We know because we watched them roll by and not bat an eye.

  • SW DC was horrible this year. Massive fireworks going off continuously well past midnight. I saw cops driving right by people shooting off M-80s. MPD doesn’t care. It’s days like this that making living in the District so frustrating.

    • +1, SW was bad this year. Setting off right in front of the Safeway, as people were within feet walking by on the sidewalk.

    • Yup–that’s exactly what we heard all night long, and we’re across the way in Navy Yard.

    • yes. The basketball courts at Lansburgh park have had tons of debris on them all week. This is literally right behind the police station. MPD does not seem to care.

  • justinbc

    They were going until at least midnight near Lincoln Park.

  • It always amazes how some of the DC’s neediest will spends hundreds of dollars just to blow it all up. I noticed the same thing when I went to a firework warehouse in central Florida when I was visiting relatives on July 4th about 10 years ago – the people with two full shopping carts of fireworks and spending $800 are those who appear to not be in the financial shape to buy them.

    • How do you know how much money any of these people have? Check yourself. Unless they’re wearing their bank account on their shirt, you don’t know how much money anyone has.

      • Accountering

        I don’t think his statement was unreasonable – it is certainly possible while out shopping to make estimations of someones financial condition…
        .
        I don’t think it is a stretch to say that there is a pretty strong negative correlation between personal income and amount of fireworks lit on July 4th in DC…

      • You’d have to be pretty naive– or totally oblivious to your own neighbors, if you actually live in CH– to think that everyone spending hundreds (or thousands!) on fireworks is otherwise caught up on their expenses.
        That said, it’s none of my business, and I am strongly opposed to efforts to regulate discretionary spending of poor folk.

        • I actually go to PA to buy fireworks and know how much they cost and yes, I’ve lived in Columbia Heights for more than 15 years. I also know a lot of my neighbors who have good, blue collar government and construction jobs that buy fireworks every year well within their budgets.

          I’m not naive, I’m actually someone that knows my neighbors and don’t judge people based on their clothes or their jobs. I’m sure some of the new comers in my neighborhood who were out yesterday with wine and sparklers have way more debt than the mechanic that lives 2 doors down who set off big fireworks displays.

          • +1 to this.

          • Another +1. Sing it w/ me folks: What’s the matter with your life? Why you got to mess with mine? Don’t be sweatin’ what I do cause I’m gonna be just fine…

          • haha, i’d love to sing that song while using a hosing down fireworks on my block. why would they care, i’m just living my life…

        • I generally agree with all these points. However, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t annoy me that some of the most elaborate displays in Columbia Heights originate in the midst of subsidized housing. I’m not suggesting that anything should be done about it, but it’s galling that so many people feel like it’s a good decision to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on fireworks while receiving government assistance.

          • Cool story bro. How much government assistance did you receive on your mortgage last year?

          • Fair point. Let’s eliminate both kinds of assistance. Sound good?
            .
            I don’t really mean that. But, this always struck me as one of the most facile retorts imaginable. “You receive tax breaks, so don’t you dare get mildly annoyed about irresponsible spending on the part of others, even when you explicitly state that there isn’t anything to be done by it.” Come on.

      • Oh here we go, Always someone who has to get touchy about the “assumptions” and judgements” on your neighbors. There’s probably a very good chance that being neighbors long enough, you may have a good idea whether they are low income/welfare recipients or not. I’m a stay-at-home mom and I SEE, with my own two eyes, who is hanging around the neighborhood all day slinging drugs at the corner, working a few hours a month as a “professional protestor” and receive a monthly welfare checks. They are my neighbors, I engage in friendly conversations with them. You hear enough to know. Please stop making this conversation about anything other than illegal use of fireworks. It’s obnoxious to always see the political correct police divert the conversation elsewhere in these topics. Clearly, some people engage in illegal activity here in all neighborhoods of DC, and you are very likely to be neighbors with these people.

        Lastly, even if someone is making good money off of illegal activity here, it’s very likely they are not spending thousands of $$$ on fireworks, they are likely stolen. You know a person who knows a person, there you go. We had some very elaborate shows last night in our neighborhood that beat out the little fireworks shows at my humble hometown.

    • I don’t support anyone who isn’t a professional blowing up fireworks, but these types of comments irk me a little because there seems to be a pervasive assumption that people who are poor aren’t allowed to celebrate on occasion. It’s the same train of thought that people use to judge folks who buy steak or a desert with food stamps. Just because someone is low-income doesn’t mean they haven’t budgeted out for a once-or-twice-a-year celebration.

      • I don’t think anyone is saying that people who are poor “shouldn’t be allowed” to celebrate with fireworks — just that the spending priorities of people who spend $$$ on fireworks may be a bit mixed up, and that this is unfortunate/lamentable.
        .
        Don’t even get me started on the lottery, which ends up functioning as a super-regressive “poor man’s tax.”

        • I actually view the lottery as a tax on people who are bad at math. That particular affliction knows no socio-economic constraints.

          • +1. Ha! Agreed. Actually I always assumed that wealthy people end up spending more on the lottery, and gambling generally.

          • The people in my office who religiously pool their money to purchase Powerball/Mega Million/Whatever the hell its called tickets have an HHI of between $400,000 and north of $2 million. Do they miss the money? No. Are they bad at math? Yup.

          • In spite of your anecdotal evidence, lottery players are disproportionately low-income.
            .
            See:
            http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/05/lotteries-americas-70-billion-shame/392870/
            http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/18/opinion/lottery-poor-just-opinion/
            .
            From the Atlantic article: “The poorest third of households buy half of all lotto tickets, according to a Duke University study in the 1980s, in part because lotteries are advertised most aggressively in poorer neighborhoods.”
            .
            From the CNN article: “Those in poverty or near poverty not only are more likely to play the lottery than those with greater means, they also spend a larger percent of their money on average on these games of chance.”

          • @textdoc: Sure, and I agree that the lottery is a regressive tax. I was really just commenting on the lunacy of ANYONE playing the lottery, regardless of SES.

          • justinbc

            Nobody forces anyone to buy lottery tickets. It’s hard to feel anymore sorry for those people than it is someone who blows a finger off with illegal fireworks.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I”m generally a little bit leery of citing studies done 30 years ago as evidence that something is true today about something that might change over time. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is still true or at least close, but I wouldn’t rate a study from the 1980’s as strong evidence.

      • No one is saying people shouldn’t be allowed to blow up fireworks if they are poor. What is irritating is the lack of consideration some people have when shooting these off until 1-2 am during the early weeks of July. And yes, I used to live next to subsidized housing. My bedroom window was facing the side where these displays would be going off on work/school nights. Did I care when people did this during reasonable hours? No.

        • I don’t disagree with you on this point. But as other people have mentioned, lack of courtesy knows no socioeconomic boundaries.

          • justinbc

            You’re less likely to care about getting up in the morning if you’re unemployed, though.

          • I stand by my initial assertion:
            If you spend hundreds of dollars on fireworks, I think there’s a really high chance that you’re terrible with money.

      • i think everyone’s general irritation is the fact that there are other ways to celebrate without making neighbors feel like they live in a war zone for 12 hours. of course, to each his own, but if there are negative externalities to your actions/celebrations, it ceases to be your decision alone.

        • Oh, I definitely agree. I just thought it was interesting that Anonymous specifically cited the personal financial situation of people buying fireworks rather than the more general disruption/lack of common courtesy.

      • One of the stands in Petworth advertises that they accept WIC vouchers. So there’s that.

    • The people in my immediate area of Petworth who are responsible for most of the fireworks are not “needy.” I know them personally and I know what most of them do for a living.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Maybe they’re not all house-poor like many of the gentrifier class are. E.g., my neighbor to one side is an older African American woman who works in retail. She can’t possibly make much money. But she bought her house in the 1970’s and has owned it free and clear for over a decade. My neighbors on the other side are two young white white-collar professionals, who both work, and need to, to pay of their ~$500K mortgage. Neither of them actually buys fireworks, but as a general matter, for whom is it a more justifiable expenditure? Things are not always as they seem…

      • HaileUnlikely

        p.s. I hate all things that go boom equally. I come from a place where citizens can’t buy fireworks and can count on the police showing up if they shoot them off. I’d be happier if it was like that here. But I don’t care whether the idiots blowing sh!t up are on public assistance or whether they’re filthy rich, I detest both equally.

  • at the corner of georgia and newton, they were going pretty continuously yesterday and sunday. ranging from tiny noisemakers, to giant fireworks. just the sheer volume of what they had (and being so close to a police station) was amazing to me. it was fun to watch for a couple hours. but after like 6 straight hours, and watching my cat dart around in fear, i was done. i also watched a guy fire mortars from his apartment balcony at the same corner…going out on a limb here and saying that cannot be safe at all.

    • agreed — we had fairly continuous, very loud explosions and partying from 8p til after 2am in our alley in columbia heights. especially on a “school night”, after several preceding days of other fireworks, it was really too much. i’m at work trying to go on 4 hours of sleep now and not happy about it.

      • Same here–started around 6pm, didn’t end until sometime after 1pm. And our dog freaks out and barks like crazy any time there’s a boom, so it was hours and hours of barking. We finally got to sleep but a few hours later–more fireworks, so we got woken up to more booms and barks. I’m exhausted and cranky. I’m all for fireworks on the 4th, but seriously, please be respectful of those neighbors who have to get up and go to work.

  • The MPD is a joke. Honestly. I watched 20+ adults/kids in Truxton Circle spend several hours firing bottle rockets and other fireworks directly at the new Dunbar High School. This is the second year in a row. The cops rode by dozens of times and did nothing. Kids were running up and down the neighborhood throwing firecrackers underneath parked cars. I sat outside most of the evening to be sure none came near my car. Several groups were firing off fireworks from the parking lot by Dunbar for hours. The cops rode by enough to make it clear they were not going to bother to stop them. It lasted well past midnight. My poor dog nearly broke free from my leash when I finally had to take him out before bed. He slept in the floor under the bed because he was terrified.

    I don’t mind people letting off a little patriotic steam, but at 11pm, the cops need to start breaking that sh*t up. And when it sounds like cannons are being fired off, it might be time to check things out. Or you know, when kids are throwing firecrackers under parked cars or launching fireworks directly at a brand new school that cost taxpayers millions to build.

    • Our bad. To be fair, we weren’t aiming for the school. We didn’t account for the ballistics challenges of lighting a bottle rocket out of a can.

    • We’re in Truxton Circle as well. We called the cops SIX times about the people on 3rd between P and O. They had little kids out there with them until 2 AM when the police finally put a stop to it. Most everyone out there piled into five or six cars and left. Our little kids were terribly upset all night – our two year old was sobbing, asking us to please “turn off the fireworks.”

      • Truxton Circle was a nightmare yesterday. Behind my house in the alleyway was like I entered into a smoke show. As a matter of interest – did you call 911? I don’t know why when I was cursing the world last night – this didn’t occur to me, but my dog was so terrified – I couldn’t get him to pee post 5pm. I spent the night with my noise machine on, wrapping him in a towel, and being pissed off with the world. If it happens again tonight – I’m going to lose my shit.

        • Yes, we did. They were pretty blase about the whole thing, which I partially understand. But when the fireworks went on and on until 2 AM, MPD needed to intercede far sooner than they did.

          • Thank you for calling, I didn’t know that it was even an option. I live around the corner and dealt with the noise and windows shaking all night

        • I gave up calling about fireworks when the clueless 911 operator informed me, “Fireworks of any and all types are legal.”

    • I’m at First and P, and it was nuts this year (it’s always crazy, but this seemed like more than usual). They were coming from every direction. They kept me up for a little while, but I was able to fall asleep at a reasonable time (1130 or so). It is definitely discourteous, but there are worse things in life. I am not sure the cops stood a chance though. There are just too many people doing it from too many places.

  • So do they just confiscate the fireworks, or if is there also a fine? It seems without a fine, there’s not much of a disincentive to light fireworks since the chance of even getting them confiscated is low. Tack on a $1000 fine – and write a lot of those tickets – and maybe some people will rethink the need to play with fireworks.

  • I’m actually fine with DC neighborhood fireworks. Grew up in DC my whole life, and always thought (and still do) July 4th neighborhood fire works display was a fun DC tradition. Funny to hear all these people complain about their dogs whining, while their dogs bark everyday of the year.

    • It’s not necessarily true that people’s dogs bark “every day of the year.”
      .
      And I think what people are complaining about isn’t so much their dogs’ whining, but the fact that the dogs are so terrified and distressed.
      .
      Are you not bothered by fireworks past, say, 11 pm? Or midnight?

    • My dog literally never barks. He didn’t even bark last night while cowering under the bed because of the insanely loud and illegal fireworks being set off outside our door. I was able to distract him with loud TV most of the night, but at some point, it’s time for people to go inside.

    • Thats a false equivalence. Dogs barking and any annoyance that may cause is no where close to loud fireworks bangs running well past midnight in the days leading up to, and after July 4th.

      • Totally subjective. If I could have 360 bark-free nights in exchange for 5 nights of fireworks– the loudest ones, with booms and squeals and pops– I would take that deal in a hot second. Heck, I’d take a MONTH of fireworks over a year of Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf!

        • Have you ever seen a dog terrified during fireworks? It is absolutely horrendous and heartbreaking. And during it – my dog didn’t make one sound. I had blacked out my room, turned on a noise machine, a fan and a TV, covered him with a towel and he shook for about five hours. I got up at 4am this morning so that he could pee, because starting at 5pm last night the fireworks were so bad that I couldn’t get him to go outside.

          • Loud and/or repetitive noises we can’t control are annoying. Trying to one-up my annoyance is annoying.

    • Friend-of-a-friend commented on FB that every July 4 she wishes she had access to a fire hose to turn on the neighborhood celebrants. “Hey, I’m just having fun! Lighten up!”

    • This is one of the biggest issues with fireworks. How disrespectful not to even consider your neighbors and their families. Your rights don’t negate mine to be able to go to bed and be ready for work in the morning. Especially, when people are getting in their cars and leaving after hours of disturbing the peace. Go do that ish in your own damn neighborhood.

  • Seemed to be more than usual in and around Mt. Pleasant last night. Sounded like a war zone.

  • We had fireworks going off until 4am in the *gas station* parking lot across from our house. THAT seems like a serious hazard.

  • If neighborhood fireworks are illegal, why are they allowed to sell them on street corners? I saw two separate firework shops set up for days in these wooden bodega structures on the corner of 19th NE and Benning and Bladensburg/Mount Olivet. It would be helpful if they tried to stop it at the source.

    • Someone was saying last week that the fireworks that those stalls sell are NOT the large-scale fireworks that people are setting off all weekend, and that for fireworks at that level, people have to get them in PA or WV.
      .
      (I can’t attest from personal experience.)

      • Hahahahahaha! Do you really think that those vendors are abiding by DC law on what they are allowed to sell? The stalls near my house had lines 2 deep yesterday afternoon. The ones that *didn’t* have illegal fireworks right out on display I bet you could just ask “What else ya got?!” and they would pull some up from under the counter or from the storage shed behind. You don’t have to drive out of state to get mortar shells, and there is little enforcement. Although I think a lot of the sellers wait until the last couple of days to make them available so if they are shut down they don’t risk the money made during the run up to the 4th. I don’t think the existing fines put too much of a dent in their profit up to that point.

        • I was asking about that last week — whether they sold the legal stuff over the counter and the illegal stuff under the table.
          .
          So people don’t have to go to PA/WV after all?

    • I think the little fireworks stands sell fireworks that are legal in D.C., not the firecrackers and mortars shown above. Quick rundown of what is and isn’t legal: http://mpdc.dc.gov/page/fireworks-safety

    • Those only sell small legal stuff. There are dudes who blatantly drive around selling fireworks out of their trunks.

  • “Neighborhood fireworks” continue to be one of DC’s stupidest traditions. I can’t imagine anyone with pets and children or just a regular sleep schedule being on board with mortar fireworks on residential blocks at midnight.

    • +1

      Our 7 month old had a very tough time sleeping. We live in Takoma/Brightwood and our neighborhood was like a war zone until well after midnight. Massive fireworks were being set off from the park at the Takoma Recreation Center – I’m amazed that DCPD didn’t shut it down given that it was on DC Parks & Rec property.

  • They were pretty rampant here in Carver Langston on the sidewalks and alleys, and all the residual smoke made it look like a war zone. It’s kind of fun until about 10:30 or so, then it’s like ok people need to go to bed and pets need a break from being terrified. I think it quieted down around midnight here, which is a bit late for me. A lot of these are big fireworks though, not just the little ones that light up on sidewalks. Are these safe around all of the trees? I saw plenty of cops driving around clearly not stopping anything.

  • There were a ton of serious, large, illegal fireworks consistently set off for hours on my street in between Columbia Heights/Petworth – a one way, very narrow street of rowhomes, kids sitting on other peoples cars, fireworks sprayed over other peoples cars and homes. I love fireworks in a safe environment but this was not safe! I know multiple people on my street called the cops and no response.

  • I think the fireworks are great and am glad that our neighbors spend their hard-earned money to put on such a show. I also recognize it as a neighborhood tradition that started before we arrived and hope that it keeps going in the future.

    • Who is we? Some of us have lived in the city most of our lives. Why do you assume everyone complaining are white gentrifiers? Do black folk not own pets? Or have jobs they need to go to in the morning and would like some sleep?

      I have zero issues with fireworks, but some of that sh*t being set off sounded like cannons. And who cleans up after that sh*t? There were blown up fireworks and boxes all over the place this morning. I don’t see any of those folks having a good ole time last night bothering to come out and clean up their own neighborhoods today.

      • Uh, “we” is me and my wife. I didn’t make any assumptions about the other people complaining. And my neighbors cleaned up after their fireworks show.

        • Mine definitely did not. They probably shot off one to two thousand fireworks last night. I wish I was making that up. Not a speck of it was in the trash this morning.

          It is a nuisance after 11, plain and simple. It’s disrespectful to the community to carry on until 2, 3, 4 AM.

  • The fireworks started around noon in my part of Petworth and continued will into the evening. At the house three doors down from mine, they started to launch them from their front porch around 8 pm. I called 911 around then to report illegal fireworks. I was told then that units would respond; no one had shown up by 8:15, so I called again. I was told that units were en-route at this point. I watched one MPD car drive south on 7th and not turn, and then another one drive north on 7th without stopping. I called a third time at 8:40 pm when they started to launch their fireworks from the park across the street. Again told that units were en-route. Call at 4th time at 9:30 pm, which finally triggered the arrival of two cars. My wife then watched from the upstairs as the cops told the individuals to set off the “rest” of the fireworks in their possession. Obviously the activity resumed once the cops left.

    I can only assume that this is indifference on the part of MPD at best. The issue of illegal fireworks cuts across a number of areas in the city and does represent a series public safety challenge. MPD cannot prevent every single person from setting off fireworks, but it can work to prevent the large gatherings that occur where people set off large amounts of fireworks over the course of several hours. It is this kind of community level policing that it is critical to ensuring regular law and order. This is especially galling when you look at the Mayor’s Twitter feed and many Council members’ Twitter feeds wishing DC a safe holiday; where are the politicians on this issue?

    • Keep asking MPD to fight a war on fireworks and if that works, I’ll eat my hat. I happily honer a loud, longtime firework tradition here in DC. I recognize the sacrifice but taking fireworks away by force, from as much a victim here as any on the there side of a gun, is not right. Come on now UP Petworth, why they stop hearing u yo?

  • This is an absolute CYA: I drove to the store and back at 6:30, driving down Park Rd dodging roman candle fire. There were 5 or 6 officers around the area, all talking around a car with lights flashing, doing absolutely nothing. The fireworks in my alley on Irving St were going until after midnight. I know you can’t stop them all – but they need to do more.

  • What are you saying — that there should be no enforcement re. illegal fireworks?

  • A 14 year old kid was launching roman candles at a 30 degree angle down my street. Completely unsafe and unsupervised.

  • Well I for one love my neighborhood’s fireworks displays and hope they continue. We even set off some fireworks of our own and our neighbors came out to watch. Other neighbors we talked to said they liked our fireworks along with other neighbors’ displays so all these Popville naysayers really aren’t representative of all residents’ sentiments.
    .
    In the full range of possible things MPD could be enforcing I really hope to spend less time enforcing illegal fireworks displays and more time on violent crimes.

    • If you see the police ignoring obvious illegal fireworks, what faith do you have that they will enforce any other crime in their jurisdiction? It’s a sign of neglect. The police shouldn’t pick and choose which laws they are going to enforce.

      • Do you say this same thing about police not ticketing jaywalkers?

        • I would if the jaywalkers were shooting explosives. Seems like there’s a false equivalency of risk in your argument. For the record, I do support ticketing jaywalkers that cause dangerous situations such as cars that can’t turn on a right arrow b/c people are jaywalking.

    • You know who really love loud fireworks? Pets, small children and war vets with PTSD.

      I’ll bet it’s a real hoot for them.

    • “Other neighbors we talked to said they liked our fireworks along with other neighbors’ displays so all these Popville naysayers really aren’t representative of all residents’ sentiments.” This is entirely possible… but even if there are neighbors who don’t like your fireworks, they probably don’t want to risk antagonizing you by telling you so.

      • Doubtful! Our neighbors are pretty vocal when we’re doing something that annoys them.

        • Did you ask all of your neighbors in a quarter mile radius of your house? Because those fireworks affect a lot more than your immediate neighbors. And I’m guessing that you probably stopped before 2am, unlike my neighbors a block over.

  • I live one block from the 3rd district police station, and my place was surrounded by rocket fire all night. The only reassurance I felt was seeing that DC fire trucks were actively cruising the streets, apparently looking for the start of fires.

  • Does anyone know the particular firework that doesn’t have any light show associated with it but instead emits a concussive noise that sounds like a car bomb? Those things make me feel like I’m having a heart attack. The adrenaline rush is intense. It triggers an immediate and very strong fight or flight response that can’t be healthy. Are whatever those things are legal? If so, they absolutely should not be.

    • I think it’s just an M-80 or something like that in a dumpster, or a metal garbage can. There could be some specialty product, though – I’m out of the loop.

      • “Quarter sticks.” They’re not actually dynamite, but they are loud and dangerous. FAR more so than an M-80. Someone set one off in front of my house (no trash can in the vicinity) a couple years ago and I literally hit the floor.
        .
        It’s especially fun to think about people setting those off since they are banned by FEDERAL law – both sale and manufacture. So not only are they one of the most obnoxious things people set off, and EXTREMELY dangerous, they’re all bootleg!

  • I saw plenty of police drive by the mortar launching pad set up in the MIDDLE of an intersection and do nothing. Honestly this is a policy issue. The police can’t enforce something this widespread. Other jurisdictions have reasonable laws that ban commercial grade fireworks being available for residents to set off in crowded neighborhoods. DC officials just throw up their hands and call it tradition, ignoring the massive threat to public safety that goes on for a week every year. It creates a culture of ignoring enforcement of basic laws. No wonder people run stop signs, dirt bikes are rampant, and litter is everywhere.

    • Massive public safety? lol come on now. This has been a tradition for many years, and the city has not burned down.

      What I find funny, is if people where complaining about noise coming from a local bar, they would be called NIMBYs, etc..

      • I doubt you’d see any press about minor fires.
        .
        I do wonder how many fireworks-related injuries/burns the D.C. hospitals see each year. When I was a kid, my family went to a neighborhood block party where a neighbor was setting off illegal fireworks, and my brother had a burn injury from something descending that was still lit.
        .
        I like fireworks displays… but I’d really prefer for professionals to be the ones setting them off. And 10:30 seems like a reasonable time to stop.

        • From DCFD twitter Feed:

          On July 3, we responded to 262 critical & 243 non critical EMS dispatches, 35 fire calls, and 47 other emergencies.

          That is July 3, i wonder what the numbers were yesterday.

      • Because explosives fired around crowds of people by amateurs causes preventable injuries and property destruction. It’s not rocket science to know it’s a bad idea, pun intended.
        http://www.cpsc.gov//Global/Research-and-Statistics/Injury-Statistics/Fuel-Lighters-and-Fireworks/Fireworks_Report_2014.pdf

    • Was this on Missouri Ave? I saw fireworks set up in the middle of the intersection there as well. It was fun to see cars attempting to drive by as fireworks were exploding literally underneath them. Shortly after, one police car arrived and flashed their lights several times every time the fireworks would go off. Eventually they got out of the car and walked over to the alley only to come out and leave a few minutes later.

      Needless to say the fireworks resumed and went on for who knows how long. I took some Zzzquil and called it a night.

  • One of the single worst nights of the year. Next year I’ll take the wife and dog away for the 4th. The sheer amount of trash this morning, the trouble getting my dog to pee last night, the complete lack of sleep…

  • How about just staying on the stretch of 14th going through Columbia Heights and catching the a$$hat setting off the one firework that sounds like a nuclear bomb that is ALSO setting off ALL the car alarms?! Could MPD do something about that because I’ve been calling it in and there has literally been zero response.

  • To to the people saying, “It’s a neighborhood tradition! Step back you gentrifiers.” All I say is that it’s an illegal and incredibly dangerous neighborhood tradition that we could all do without — just like assaults and car break-ins. I may be a gentrifier, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the right to state an entire reasonable opinion against the concept of kids and drunken adults playing with dangerous explosives in the alley behind my house.

    • +1

      It’s reasonable until 11, and with legal fireworks. Everyone should be able to celebrate, and everyone should also have a reasonable expectation of having a break from the noise and danger.

  • “officers have been working extremely hard and have seized several hundred pieces of fireworks so far. I realize that the night is not over and there are still some areas lighting illegal fireworks, so our teams are still out patrolling and recovering the fireworks”

    NOT IN THE 6th DISTRICT!

    I called the police, watched the officer arrive, shine his lights on the guys lighting fuses, watched the subsequent light show and pulled away. Way to go MPD

  • Honest question here, has anyone ever considered trying to set up neighborhood “zones” for fireworks?

    Get a big church parking lot, and let all these goobers set them off there together. Have a cop stop by and supervise, maybe the local fire station can help out, and i could even see some neighbors getting into it and showing up just to watch it. Let this d*ck measuring contest between local yokels happen there rather than the competition between guys a block away from eachother as to who can set off more car alarms.

    I get that very few people will probably show up at first and there will still be stuff in the alleys, but you can preserve the BS “tradition” aspect of this while encouraging some safety and maybe getting some people to fire them all off earlier instead of one by one until 3 am.

  • No one seems to be saying ban fireworks, but it’s gotten out of control. The Mayor and MPD need to create some boundaries and enforce the law — before someone is seriously injured.

  • *shrug* I love the fireworks. I’m at Maryland & 12th NE, and they were huge (and loud – those cannon ones seemed to be the firework fad this year). That said, they were slowing by 11pm and done by midnight near me, nothing bad seemed to have happened to my car (didn’t do an exhaustive search), and I didn’t see any trash left out.

    • No doubt. These people commenting are big time no fun. It’s not like this is going on all year. Guess we’re the only ones that love America. Happy birthday America.

    • Yes, and I *love* beer, but I don’t come over to your backyard and spit it in your face. That’s pretty much what July 4th is like in DC for people who aren’t just like you.

  • Live near the Whitelaw public housing at 13th and t — loud fireworks on Saturday, Sunday and interspersed all day yesterday. Ridiculous.

    • I Dont Get It

      I’m not sure i would consider the Whitelaw “public housing” (what does that mean?) but I agree that fireworks were going off last night unitl 2:00 am ish.

      • Yeah, considering I’m a fed and qualified to live there based on my income at one point, I don’t think I’d call that “public housing…”

        • *clarification: was within the income range to live there on a GS salary, not actually lived there.

  • we’ll know that DC is fully gentrified when “only the professionals” light fireworks..

    • Hah, I’m relatively anti-illegal fireworks but anyone on here who thinks that’s true is sorely mistaken. Amateur fireworks happen everywhere, inner cities and wealthier suburbs. Perhaps just not as concentrated.

  • Somehow this debate always turns into “do you like fireworks or do you hate America?” Even PoP’s question is framed around approval/disapproval of fireworks. But that isn’t the issue. It’s the type of firework and whether it has a place in crowded neighborhoods and in the hands of amateurs. It IS a threat to public safety, and the sounds this threat makes are significantly different from the strawman “NIMBY bar.” Grow up, DC. If you want fireworks, go down to the Mall and see an actual show. Setting off car bombs every 10 minutes for 7 hours isn’t a show, it’s a disaster waiting to happen, on top of being a huge show if disrespect toward neighbors with dogs, babies, war trauma, or anyone who doesn’t like waking up to piles of charred firework remnants spread across their house, lawn, and street.

      • It’s not just an “approve/disapprove” situation, it’s a “legal/illegal” situation. DC has very strict laws regarding the sale, possession, and use of fireworks. The ones that people set off very clearly fall into the “illegal” category. Enforce the law. It’s as simple as that.

  • I almost had a nervous break down last night early this morning due to idiots shooting off cherry bombs and fire crackers. I dialed 911 and I received a recording in English and Spanish holding on for over a minute. I had to hang up and continue to dial 911 before finally reaching a dispatcher after 5 minutes or so. I am glad I was getting robbed because I would have received a recording at 911. I’m sure the 911 call center was back up with calls city wide.

    • This city is NEVER going to clamp down on fireworks. It doesn’t even clamp down on semi-serious crime.
      .
      Calling 911 when you in fact said it was busy because of a noise complaint on the Fourth of July about firecrackers is not only a lost cause, but also insensitive to those who are having actual emergencies as you yourself mentioned. Security is #1 priority in DC on July 4th – it will never be firecrackers. What the DC Police did bragging about it is dumb because they do NOT focus on it.
      .
      It’s one day of the year….you know what’s going to happen…..and you aren’t willing to go speak with your NEIGHBORS.

      • People firing off illegal fireworks is a safety hazard. It’s more than noise; it’s about things and people getting lit on fire. It is perfectly reasonable to call the police when you feel the situation has gotten out of hand. And I didn’t go speak with my neighbors last night because: 1) I know they carry handguns (dealers); 2) they have been drinking all day and 3) they are firing explosives off in the street until 2 AM with young children close by. My assessment of their state of mind is such that I’d rather have the police DO THEIR JOBS and shut that shit down.

        • There’s a lot of variables at play. You’re adding some to the equation – i.e. 2 am.
          .
          It just baffles me when people knowingly move to questionable areas with questionable neighbors then expect it to magically clean up once you move in. This city has so many problems – firecrackers is NEVER going to be a priority – particularly on a national holiday that’s a terrorist’s dream in the nation’s capital. Complain all you want, never gonna change.

          • But pretending that people are calling 911 because of the noise alone is ignoring the actual problem. I agree that this isn’t our city’s most pressing issue, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to express my extreme displeasure with it to anyone in the city government who will listen.

          • Nobody is expecting magic and nobody thinks fireworks should be the top priority. That’s just you making a BS argument that means nothing. Why do you assume it is only those that have moved in recently who don’t like bombs going off in their alleys all night? Why shouldn’t people complain about drunks and kids setting off explosives near their houses?

      • Are you serious? Yes this was serious enough to call 911 because the sound of loud cherry bombs going off sounded like being in Iraq or Bagdad. I wasn’t about to go outside approaching drunk unruly men setting off illegal cherry bombs and fire crackers at 12:30 a.m, to be shot and killed. We live in a crazy world today and people have shot and killed for asking their neighbors to turn down their loud music. It wasn’t just gentifiers calling 911 last night to report illegal cherry bombs and fire crackers. Many longtime D.C.. a new native born residents like myself called 911 too. Fir the record, I am over 60 years. Law enforcement constantly tell us, if you see something illegal going on dial 911 and this what many D.C. residents did.

        • Using that logic, I should move to Anacostia and just call the police all day and expect crime to stop? Unfortunately, in many parts of DC, you have to flat out pick your battles. I could look outside my window all day and find things to call 911 using that logic. On July 4th, I’m not going to lose my mind about people using firecrackers. That stress level is not good for anybody.

      • “One day of the year?” – you must live in McLean!

  • I don’t know why the MPD thinks it’s sufficient seize the kiddie fireworks they are displaying. What about the massive mortar rounds that rock the walls of the whole neighborhood until late into the night (for numerous nights). How hard is it see that Sherman Avenue and 14 St stage massive launches for hours. The police should be ashamed of themselves (and are fully culpable for any injuries and property loses that arise). They need to impose hefty fines in addition to confiscating the explosives.

    All this from Columbia Heights where people could just walk downtown to really celebrate the 4th, but of course it’s not celebration that’s driving this rotten behavior. I’m embarrassing to see the neighborhood get so crapped on.

    • You are entitled to your opinion, but it seems a bit excessive to view a once a year fireworks display as the neighborhood getting “crapped on.”

      • Once a year? It’s been going on for a week and still hasn’t stopped. I am still hearing fireworks as we approach midnight on the 5th.

  • We’re the nation’s capitol. Independence Day is like our Mardi Gras. enjoy it, or take a weekend getaway.

    • No. I live here, too, and I get as much a say in the culture as you do. Celebrating is one thing; destroying property, endangering your neighbors, and ruining everyone’s ability to have a peaceful evening isn’t acceptable. Keep it legal, keep it safe, and keep it to 11 PM, and I have no problem. Beyond that, I’m calling the police again and again until this shit stops.

  • Well I guess I’m in the minority that enjoyed the show. LeDroit park always seems to have pretty good competition on the 4th. Between the kids on V street, the folks on Elm, a family on 2nd, it was pretty entertaining. based on the size of the crowd and the applause, looked like the whole neighborhood enjoyed it.

    • +1

      Our whole neighborhood coalesces around the shows. We are all enjoying it, drinking, eating, and laughing.

      FWIW, I have a small child and a dog and I think this whole thread is full of buzz kills. The dog will survive and the baby enjoyed the show in earphones.

      Yes, it could be done more respectfully (clean up trash/not after 11), but DC does the 4th well.

    • I don’t think you are in the minority. About 75% of respondents to the poll indicated some level of “enjoy” with respect to the fireworks. I could do without the pre and post July 4 fireworks. But I don’t mind the actual July 4 shows.

  • binpetworth

    What, no love for tennis among this crowd?

  • I have stated on many occasions that I am a resident of DC and I had the luxury of spending my 4th of July in the front seat of a patrol car from 1300 to 0500 hours yesterday. Everyone saying “MPD doesn’t do anything about people shooting off all the illegal fireworks!” I have a few things to say to this. 1. I don’t (nor does the department probably) own enough hand cuffs to stop all the people shooting off fireworks. There are parts of my PSA that I’ll drive through 364 days of the year and I may see one person on the street. But only July 4th, there are 100 people out there. So take that and realize how many people are out in more populated areas of DC 2. If I enforce the illegal firework law, it takes me off the street for at-least an hour. While Fourth of July always brings robberies, shootings, assaults, and other more serious crimes. So yeah, sometimes the best thing a police officer can do is know when to “fold them”. 3. I have a friend that told me last night they enforced the law last night at a party. When the party realized what was happening the two officers were encircled. And then if those officers don’t understand when to fold, 1. Those cops are going to be hurt and less offices in the street. 2. The residences at that home will then get hurt too. 3. Then while the officers are asking for assistance with an unruly party more officers are off the street over fireworks being shot on the Fourth of July. 4. Because of the massive tourist show down on the mall, most district are at minimal levels of staffing because the rest of the district force is downtown dealing with those events. 5. Illegal fireworks is the least of DC and MPD promblem on the Fourth of July let alone any day of the year. I got off at 0500 last night and got home and was lucky enough to hear fireworks till I finally fell asleep. So, i get how people get upset about the two or three days out of the year but come on.

    • I’m curious, Anon MPD 2–what did your friend from item #3 do today? Do you guys just have to let the people that surrounded them coast? I read about the MPD officer who got drawn into a shootout and killed a guy when checking on a group shooting off fireworks last night. I love this city, but the people in it seem utterly insane sometimes.

      • Luckily, the tenure resident of the block came out and calmed the storm. The person that was observed using illegal fireworks was ticketed and everything ended up peaceful. But just like what happened in 6D last night, it was a few seconds from going to yelling to a district call for assistance. There were 20 plus people surrounding them. Luckily it didn’t turn south but like most in my job know that does happen a lot.

        • That’s fortunate. Stay safe out there. Summer in the city…

        • Always appreciate hearing from you about the realities. I think what is really pissing a lot of people off is the post from MPD “bragging” about how many fireworks they confiscated. Nonsense like that is just disrespectful.

          Tell the officials to simply be honest and work with us, admit when you can’t do something impossible. Don’t boast about the few mosquitos you swatted when there is a hellstorm of harpies raining down upon us.

          And perhaps, consider an effort to crack down on the fireworks for the 5-6 days before and after the 4th of July. Anyone can tolerate chaos for one night, but two weeks – which is what we live with – is a bit much.

    • Pardon my ignorance, but it is possibleto just confiscate illegal fireworks and drive on? Those of us that are worked up are probably cranky from lack of sleep and anticipating another night of same ridiculousness. Also, when we see a patrol car drive by an obvious crime, we don’t know what your thought process is so thank you for explaining, if even I don’t agree.

      • “There are parts of my PSA that I’ll drive through 364 days of the year and I may see one person on the street. But only July 4th, there are 100 people out there. So take that and realize how many people are out in more populated areas of DC 2. If I enforce the illegal firework law, it takes me off the street for at-least an hour. While Fourth of July always brings robberies, shootings, assaults, and other more serious crimes. So yeah, sometimes the best thing a police officer can do is know when to “fold them”.”

        • Right, I get that, but if there’s a pipe launcher lying in the middle of the street, can’t the police just confiscate it and move on and forget about the paperwork? Is there really a due process risk over an illegal pipe launcher confiscation? Or if they see people shooting off illegal fireworks, why explicitly encourage them? Why aren’t resources devoted to stopping the importation of illegal fireworks from PA or WV? Growing up in the midwest, cars were subject to routine searches crossing over from WI around the 4th to check for illegal fireworks.

          • +1 to “Or if they see people shooting off illegal fireworks, why explicitly encourage them?”

          • I’m not sure how you stop individuals from coming into DC with fireworks from other places that they plan to set off themselves. I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s family brings their own stash with them from another state. But if what you are suggesting is that the police make an effort to inspect every fireworks stand to make sure they are not selling illegal fireworks, I agree with that. At the end of the day, I think that is where the problem lies. Instead of complaining about police not being able to respond to every single call for illegal fireworks, ask the City Council why these fireworks stands are allowed to set up shop in DC in the first place.

          • That only works if it is in fact the legal D.C. fireworks stands illegally selling illegal fireworks (as well as legally selling the legal stuff).
            .
            Having plainclothes officers go to fireworks stands and find if they can get illegal fireworks sounds like a good idea.
            .
            I wonder why D.C. bothers having legal fireworks sales. It seems like the illegal fireworks are way more popular.

      • So when we “confiscate” any property we have to do paperwork which in turn takes us off the street. We can’t just take property and not explain why, where, who, and why. If we didn’t do that, it would be stealing. Also, just like the story in #3, confiscating fireworks is a great way to get a block or neighborhood to turn on us.

        • It’s also a great way for the rest of the neighborhood to lose faith in MPD, unfortunately, while simultaneously emboldening others to engage in illegal activity.

          • If people lose faith over their police department for not putting more people in the system over illegal fireworks. I won’t lose any sleep over that. Sorry, but all of the “MPD isn’t doing their job. They need to enforce these laws.” The vast majority of the people breaking hose firework laws are 16-22 years olds. So while our country is having the debate of over incarseration, we on this blog want more kids to be put in the system over fireworks? Also, the police have discreation on enforceing certain laws. And illegal fireworks are one of those laws. Every ticket we write for illegal fireworks is an arrest on someone’s record. And at the same time, while you would want me enforcing the illegal firework calls, someone else calls in with a man with a gun. I now can’t go because I’m writing some kid a ticket for shooting fireworks off on the Fourth Of July. To be honest, everyone posting on here is commenting on their little world (their block or neighborhood) when each district is responsible for many neighborhoods. Next year, come do a ride along with us and see what we face on the 4th and you’ll understand why enforcing that law isn’t feasible. But, it’s fine, you can lose faith all you want, but I know and you should realize there are much larger issues in this city than fireworks.

          • Just an fyi, I have done ride alongs, worked for a police department, and respect that being a police officer is a hard job. But I think you’re also not appreciating that I can be annoyed that the police are driving by groups of teens setting off what are essentially bombs until 2am on a Monday with justification that it’s not that bad, paperworks’s a bitch, etc, so suck it up. From my perspective, it is unsafe when I need to walk the dog and there’s explosives going off. This post is asking whether or not we are ok with fireworks so it’s natural that some us are fed up, no? It’s not like I’m posting on an FOP blog.

          • justinbc

            Don’t lose faith in MPD, lose faith in management who can’t figure out how to hire more officers so that they don’t have to prioritize “only the worst offenses”.

          • Ha, good point, Justin. Maybe I wouldn’t be so annoyed if: 1) the tone wasn’t so dismissive and 2) I wasn’t so sleep deprived.

          • “The vast majority of the people breaking hose firework laws are 16-22 years olds. So while our country is having the debate of over incarseration, we on this blog want more kids to be put in the system over fireworks?”
            .
            Legally speaking… what kind of offense is it to have/shoot off illegal fireworks? Would it actually land anyone in jail??

          • Can’t you confiscate fireworks _without_ arresting the kids and putting them “in the system”?

          • MPD would have to double the force to have enough officers to make any kind of dent in the 4th of July fireworks department. Even if every call for unlawful fireworks was responded to, in how many cases would the fireworks still be going off once the police came? What’s the likelihood the police would be able to identify the person(s) setting off the fireworks sufficiently to write a ticket or confiscate the contraband? And what’s the likelihood that as soon as the police leave, the party starts all over again? The fireworks situation in DC is too out of hand to be solved by police officers patrolling the beat on the busiest fireworks night of the year. If people don’t want this to continue, tell the City Council to take the first step by banning all fireworks in DC.

        • “We can’t just take property and not explain why, where, who, and why”
          .
          why can’t mpd do some mass confiscation memo applicable to all fireworks in DC around the 4th that gives police the authority to just take fireworks they see? it’s not like there’s debate about whether they are legal or not, and there’s no other use to which fireworks could conceivably be put. i’m not sure the legalities around “who”, but from a layman’s perspective, it doesn’t seem like it should matter who you take them from, if they’re illegal.

          • How about all those churches, community groups, Mayor’s programs for whatever – actually do something to work with the likely “offenders” before? Fireworks are fun – we were all young and wild once. But someone taught us parameters – no mortar launches in the middle of the street, etc.

            A thousand police officers swooping in and scooping up all the fireworks is impossible (and dangerous.) It is the failure of parents and city/civic/church/ leaders to teach at least a basic level of decent behavior that is really disheartening.

    • So first of all let me say that I can’t pretend to know how to do your job. And second, I don’t have a huge problem with the fireworks. But the late night stuff and the really drunken and dangerous behavior of some, as well as the people openly selling massive fireworks out of cars is a little disturbing.
      .
      Now, I have no ides how to stop this, but no other major city in the country has this problem. I’ve lived in several other major cities and have visited several more for the 4th. New York, Philly, Chicago… none of these cities have the completely out of control fireworks issues we have.
      .
      Maybe talk to them? I’m not sure what the solution is, but complaining there’s nothing you can do is so obviously wrong.

      • I lived in Oakland for a few months last year. They have the same problem. I played a nightly game of is-it-gunshots-or-fireworks for a month leading up to July 4th, and then they promptly stopped.

  • It’s a given that there will be massive fireworks in my Park View hood every year. I am resigned to it. Unless someone was firing mortars into a crowd, I wouldn’t even think of calling police to report illegal fireworks because I would assume they would never come. Stopping fireworks is just not a law enforcement priority in this city. If it was, they would ban fireworks stands. Not that that would even help. I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s family brings their stash in from the suburbs. But to her credit, my neighbor shuts it all down by 11pm.

  • As a 61 year old D.C. native, I don’t have a problem with fireworks like sparkles. My problem is with those extremely loud darn cherry bombs. My goodness, cherry bombs were going off in my 16th Street Heights neighborhood almost every minute. Maybe the District should just ban fire works. Residents can always go down to the Mall and see fireworks being displayed safely or watch it on PBS. There were drunk men setting off cherry bombs and fire works at 1:30 a.m. in the morning. I didn’t get any sleep last night and I am so tired and sleepy today at work in the office. Did anyone else dial 911 and received a recording? It’s my understanding 911 dispatchers were extremely busy citywide taking calls for illegal cherry bombs and fire crackers going off in their neighborhoods. I expect to hear more cherry bombs and fire cracker tonight. I will clutch my pearls tonight hoping that I will not hear cherry bombs and fire crackers going off because I need my beauty rest. LOL

    • Moving the teens down to the mall may not be what the District wants in terms of public policy. Also, it is really baffling that you see GROWN MEN acting like kids and lighting fireworks all hours of the night, with no sense of remorse for those who work and live in the neighborhood.

  • The thing that really annoyed me this year was that the people setting off fireworks on my block weren’t my neighbors– they were people who drove in to the District (with Maryland plates), parked on my block, and proceeded to light fireworks for hours. After keeping me up for hours, they piled in their cars and left. If they wanted fireworks so badly, why couldn’t they blow them up next to their houses?

    Last year, they launched fireworks over my house and burned holes in my roof. They also damaged multiple cars on the street by launching fireworks right up against them (and having errant fireworks fly into them).

    We wouldn’t allow this type of property damage, mayhem, and noise any other time of the year. And, in response to the other commenters, it’s against the law (for good reason). I’d just like the police to enforce the laws we have now.

  • So confiscating property without enforcing a law that is being broke is basically civil forfeiture. Not only that, but then the person losing their property can now file a complaint about MPD taking their property. Also that doesn’t take the fact just taking the property means I am still off the street. I didn’t mean to sound dismissive in my posts. But in frustrated that I can’t win. We decide with the resource we are given to focus on the violent crimes. I get it, fireworks are annoying and dangerous, but as a patrol officer I don’t make the decision to have 39 co-workers on the busiest day of the year. I don’t make the decision in sending the vast majority of our force downtown for the tourist events, while leaving the neighborhoods being operated at bare bones. I don’t make the decisions that are causing tons of my friends to leave every day. I also didn’t make the decision that I had to work 14 hours last night because we are so short and then have to take care of my children and my dogs. So just like you I’m sleep deprived and upset that because of decision the rank and file make, now the people I love helping lose faith in me.

    • Sounds like we’re both tired. As a plain old citizen, perhaps my confusion is over the decision by MPD to overlook illegal fireworks but then to strictly apply the 4th amendment search and seizure process to illegal items that you do confiscate. I really do appreciate your efforts and I am equally frustrated that MPD’s resources are stretched so thin.

  • No brilliant comment here. Just mark me very pro-fireworks anytime during July 4 weekend. I don’t care how early or late you go.

    I felt very alive last night, and I hope others felt a bit of the same. Go America. It’s amazing the powers that be tolerate such mayhem in the streets. One day a year like that is perfectly fine with me.

  • There perennially challenging intersection at 17th & Euclid NW was a complete sh*t show last night, and I don’t know whether to be comforted or distressed that the chaos (which was much worse this year than last, and as always connected to THAT house on the corner) was apparently run of the mill in the city this year. I get it that MPD has a tough task in dealing with this activity, but watching 40 teenagers set off commercial grade fireworks in the street while pedestrians and cars (this is a busy intersection) tried to pass through was nerve-wracking. I was genuinely surprised nothing caught fire and no one was injured (that I know of), and aside from the incredibly noise was mostly concerned that I’d see someone’s roof light up any minute. Fundamentally this is not a noise problem, it’s a safety problem, and the city needs to do better than shrug at “neighborhood traditions,” especially when the end of the night is punctuated by most of the revelers loading up into cars and driving off to wherever they live.

    • LOL; I am very familiar with that location at 17th & Euclid Streets, NW. I drove passed there several weeks ago coming from the Harris & Teeter in Adams Morgan. I saw the family sitting out there and I laugh to myself, these tenants have been living at this location for years. I remember former Ward 1 Jim Graham trying to do something about quality of life issues at this location due to complaints to his office. I use to hang out in that neighborhood back in the early 80’s visiting my Nicaraguan friend on Ontario Road, NW. At that time, that location was worse than some areas of Harlem, East New York, and the Bronx. I don’t have a problem with simple fireworks like sparkles and other basic fireworks we used in the early 60’s on Sherman Avenue, NW and Columbia Road, NW. My problem is the darn cherry bombs. The cherry bombs are extremely loud and nerve wrecking. They also can blow off you hands/arms or do serious damage to others. Anyway I will not look forward to the next 4th of July hearing cherry bombs. I will be clutching my pearls. People from Maryland shouldn’t be coming into our city or other’s neighborhoods shooting off fireworks. They need to stay in their own neighborhoods conducting this foolishness, unless they are visiting relatives or friends in the District. Euclidian, I agree it’s a safety and loud noise problem from cherry bombs and fire crackers.

  • At-home fireworks are a nuisance, and they pose a serious safety threat to those who use them. But, they also keep neighborhood kids IN the neighborhood.

    By having the fireworks at home, the kids DO NOT go to the National Mall to enjoy the public fireworks display and concert. Because they are not downtown, the public that visits feels relatively “safe” and avoids their presence.

    By outlawing fireworks in DC, you are essentially moving the teens down to the mall.

    • Most fireworks are already illegal in D.C. There’s just very little enforcement.
      .
      Are you making the argument that allowing the widespread use of illegal fireworks is OK because it keeps “ghetto youth” in their neighborhoods? And that it’s a plus to keep them off the National Mall?

      • I am simply stating that policy makers have decided years ago that it is better for visitors of the mall to have neighborhood kids stay in the neighborhoods. They are not “ghetto” kids. However, they may not look like the thousands of people who come to visit at the mall.

        How do you make this happen?

        1) Sell fireworks East of the park in the commercial corridors (e.g., Georgia Avenue, North Capitol Street etc).

        2) Allow them to light the fireworks in their own neighborhoods.

        3) Encourage restraint by MPD to allow the blocks to light fireworks

  • new poll – When will the fireworks end on your block?

    A) July 6
    B) July 8
    C) July 15
    D) August

    • Yeah, our anon cop in this thread hasn’t explained yet why MPD doesn’t have the resources to deal with illegal fireworks during the week leading up to and the week following the show downtown. Where are all the cops then?

      Look, if fireworks are so darn popular in DC, and the cops have no interest in enforcing the law, then let’s just make it all legal. Would you all be content with cherry bombs going off 24/7/365? Huge explosions in your backyard during the Christmas holiday season?

Comments are closed.