Getting caught with illegal fireworks in the city of Las Vegas has just gotten more expensive.
The City Council this month approved fine increases of criminal and civil infractions for fireworks-related violations.
Civil fines for first-time offenders have doubled to $500, the maximum allowed under state law, according to the city.
Criminal offenses will fetch $500 from first-time offenders, and $1,000 fees for every subsequent infraction. City code had previously allowed up to a $1,000 fine, but had not set a minimum.
Around the July 4 holiday, the city and Clark County partner with the Metropolitan Police Department in the “You Light It – We Write It” campaign.
Next Independence Day, police will write the fines while fire inspectors collect and dispose of the illicit pyrotechnics, Las Vegas Assistant Fire Chief Sherri Shoup told the city’s recommending committee last month.
“I’m actually hopeful that a lot more citations (will) get written and (that) the program is much more effective that way,” Shoup said.
The City Council voted unanimously on Nov. 1 to approve the bill that cemented the fines.
Illegal fireworks — the ones that shoot up to the sky — are a long-engrained Southern Nevada tradition, but also a nuisance.
Clark County, for example, received more than 10,000 complaints this July 4. The city of Las Vegas reported 53 citations for the previous year.
Shoup said that fielded complaints typically result in warnings, because they just want to get the illicit fireworks off the street, unless someone is belligerent or aggressive.
Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who sponsored the new bill, said her office is flooded with complaints about fireworks, noting that there are opportunities to witness explosions set off by professionals.
“We live in a city that puts on magnificent, professional fireworks shows,” the mayoral candidate said. “There’s no need for illegal and dangerous fireworks.”