Over the Fourth of July holiday, the Bellevue Police Department reports that five $1,000 citations were given out, three written warnings and countless verbal warnings to residents illegally setting off fireworks. The “success” is in part due to the 153 firework reports made using a temporary heat map tool, new for the city this year.
“We’re going to take a look at all of the data online, feedback and the plan right now is to have it back next year,” Meeghan Black, Bellevue PD spokesperson said.
NORCOM — the dispatch center fielding Bellevue’s calls — received 533 emergency calls on July 4, about a 20-percent increase from a typical day, Black said. One of the calls was associated with a fire and 34 calls were related to fireworks. It was a slight decrease compared to last year.
Anyone could access the special reporting section on Bellevuewa.gov or on the phone application from 8 p.m. on July 4 to 2 a.m. on July 5. There, they could add an activity address or move a location pin. The hope was to give law enforcement a better idea of where illegal fireworks were heard and seen, given that it’s sometimes difficult to tell where the pops and bangs originate.
The heat map tool was used to better target illegal fireworks that can lead to an abundance of noise complaints and injuries. There were also the fears of potential fires sparked from outdoor celebrations.
In King County, fireworks are speculated to be the cause of a fatal fire in the Highline neighborhood of Burien this year. One person was found in the home deceased, according to a tweet from King County Fire District 20, and about 13 displaced on July 4.
Black pointed out that other positives from the night in Bellevue were the estimated crowd of 60,000 people at Bellevue’s celebration. There was not a single arrest or citation issued during the full-day event at Bellevue Downtown Park.
“The whole event was amazingly successful,” she said.