The Los Angeles Police Department seized nearly twice the amount of illegal fireworks over the July Fourth holiday this year compared with last year, authorities said Tuesday, and they placed at least part of the blame on the coronavirus pandemic.
There were 4,350 pounds of fireworks seized this year, compared with 2,350 pounds seized last year, the LAPD reported.
Also, an analysis of service calls showed an 86.2% increase this year compared with 2019 -- 8,155 calls in 2020 vs. 4,380 calls in 2019, the LAPD reported.
Local news from across Southern California
"The Fourth of July holiday period has historically brought about a proliferation of illegal fireworks throughout the city and county of Los Angeles,'' a department statement said. "As we all know, this was a very busy and noisy year for fireworks. In preparation (the LAPD) maintained coordination with the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department and My Safe LA, (and) implemented a Fireworks Reduction Plan.''
The plan included hanging fireworks banners at every station and utilizing social media messaging from all LAPD geographic area platforms.
"We also connected with our community members via Zoom meetings and dispatched Senior Lead Officers to chronic call locations from previous years,'' police said.
"While we believe our strategies played a significant role in protecting the public and preventing the loss of life and damaged property, the quarantine related to the COVID-19 pandemic definitely had an impact on the increase in the use of illegal fireworks,'' the statement concluded.