HONOLULU (KHON2) — The booms of illegal aerial fireworks on Oahu have already begun well ahead of New Year’s Eve. Honolulu police say that enforcement will rely heavily on the community helping officers this holiday season.
The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has already seized hundreds of pounds of illegal fireworks this December. Police seized 400 pounds of fireworks — including aerials — at a Makiki home on Dec. 2. Two people were arrested.
Then on Wednesday, Dec. 16, another 200 pounds were seized from a home in Moanalua.
“We had that one just on Wednesday and that one involved a complaint from a citizen,” HPD acting Major Robert Towne said.
HPD says while tips from the public are helpful, they also need people who are willing to follow-up on the record.
“We do need to get a written statement from that person, they’re going to have to be willing to testify in court if it goes to court,” acting Major Towne said.
He adds that pictures and video can also help.
“If the picture is a good picture, I can see who’s lighting the thing and investigate it from there, but it’s not as good as if it that person who took the picture will also give me a statement stating that they took the picture, that they witnessed it and so forth,” acting Major Towne said.
Only firecrackers purchased with a permit are legal, but aerials have already been a problem before the New Year. HPD received 550 fireworks-related calls during the week of Thanksgiving alone.
“I know we have calls from twelve, one, two in the morning, people setting off these large explosions and that’s throughout the entire island, so I don’t think that it’s going be that much quieter this year,” Major Towne said.
The law puts illegal fireworks in an amount over 25 pounds as a felony and an amount under 25 pounds as a misdemeanor. Penalties can range from a $500 to $2,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Even with penalties and enforcement, Major Towne believes it is up to the public to respect each other.
“There are a lot of people out there who have pets that this causes problems to,” Major Towne said. “There are a lot of people out there with PTSD who are complaining.”
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