Illegal fireworks booming already

Police encourage residents to report violations with app

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Gilroy residents who see someone lighting off illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July can “Nail ‘Em” with a smartphone app.

As in previous years, Gilroy Police is teaming up with the free app called Nail ‘Em to allow residents to instantly communicate with officers assigned to work illegal fireworks enforcement.

Police encourage citizens to download the app and use it to report fireworks from 7pm to midnight July 4. The app will be monitored only during this time.

Citizens who use the app have the option to stay completely anonymous, police said. The app can be downloaded from the app store for iOS and Android devices. Location services must be turned on for the Nail ‘Em app to be effective.

Police described how to use the app: If you see a nearby launch or explosion of a firework, you can report it using the “reporting mode” on the Nail ‘Em app. The app uses your device’s GPS to access your general location. Nail ‘Em also allows the user to add information to help the officers pinpoint the precise location where the violation is occurring, such as an address or a general description of the area.

The more information provided, the better chance an officer has of taking enforcement action, according to police.

Citizens can still report illegal fireworks by phone by calling 911 for emergencies only, and by calling 408.846.0350 for non-emergencies. Police prefer that citizens use the Nail ‘Em app to report fireworks violations from 7pm to midnight July 4.

Interim Police Chief Scot Smithee on June 15 said the calls for illegal fireworks are “starting to roll in.”

Illegal fireworks are described as those that shoot into the air and explode, or dart across the ground, such as cherry bombs, firecrackers and bottle rockets.

From 4pm July 4 to 2am July 5 in 2019, Gilroy Police received 241 calls for service, and 119 of these were related to the illegal use of fireworks, according to the department.

Gilroy Police will deploy 12 additional officers dedicated to enforcing fireworks violations during the July 4 evening, according to Smithee. Those officers will be funded by mitigation fees added to legal fireworks sales in Gilroy.

The annual sale of “safe and sane” fireworks will begin on July 1, with proceeds benefiting various community organizations.

The fireworks can only be used July 1 through midnight on July 4, and must be used at home and not in public spaces.

Meanwhile, the Gilroy Fireworks Show will return on July 4.

As in past years, the fireworks display will originate from Gilroy High School and will begin around 9:30pm.

Residents are encouraged to view the fireworks from their own home, practice social distancing, and wear face coverings where applicable, officials advised. Parking and gathering at Gilroy High School and the overflow parking lot will be blocked off and will not be allowed.

For information on the city’s fireworks regulations, visit tinyurl.com/ydes5ace.

Where to purchase fireworks

Fifteen organizations will set up booths along First Street, Monterey Street, Tenth Street and other areas in the city to sell “safe and sane” fireworks. The following is a list of organizations and the locations of their booths.

• Apostolic Assembly Church, 7150 Camino Arroyo

• Christian School Parents Club, 8220 Monterey St.

• El Camino Club, 971 First St.

• Gavilan College, 1203-1260 First St.

• Gilroy Elks Lodge, 825 First St.

• Gilroy High School Cheerleader Boosters, 7940 Monterey Road

• Gilroy High School Quarterback Club, 401 E. Tenth St.

• Gilroy High School Wrestling, 8850 San Ysidro Ave.

• Gilroy Police Officers Association, 8400 Church St.

• Gilroy Little League BallPark Fund, 691 First St.

• Gilroy Pop Warner Football, 8401 Church St.

• Gilroy Youth Football and Cheer, 80 W. Tenth St.

• South County Baseball Boosters, 727 First St.

• Stick and Move Amateur Boxing, 777 First St.

• Victory Outreach Gilroy, 777 First St.