DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Police say firework-related calls for service have quadrupled, from 20 in the last week of June in 2016 to 76 during the same time this year.
Officers say the increase in calls is due in part to legislators’ statewide decision to legalize certain fireworks during certain times. Fireworks are only permitted to be shot off on July 4th from the hours of 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., but one neighborhood is already hearing them.
The Dogpatch neighborhood is a seemingly quiet area in Des Moines during the day, but has not been the same after the sun goes down.
“It’s very disturbing. It’s really loud this year, seems like,” said long-time Dogpatch resident Carey Steltzer.
Some people in the area did know it was illegal to shoot them off prior to July 4th.
“Oh, really? I didn’t know that, I just learned that now,” said Des Moines resident Gerardo Montardo.
But that hasn’t stopped some people from firing them off anyway.
“Like 12 or 1 in the morning. I think it’s a good thing, fireworks,” Montardo said.
Steltzer, however, doesn’t think they’re good, and she hopes people breaking the law, hear her plea to stop.
“A friend of mine is a war vet and really bothers him. It brings that part of him, when he was in war, back, so they need to be respectful of people,” she said.
People caught setting off fireworks outside the approved hours could be fined $625. Steltzer believes that’s fair, as the loud noises not only disturb her friend, but also her pet dog, Beast.
“He whimpers, he cries, and curls up in bed with us,” Steltzer said.
Fireworks can be loud, but Steltzer says safety is her biggest concern. Just last year a Pleasant Hill home nearly burned to the ground after authorities say improperly disposed fireworks reignited in the garage.
Stelzer says as far as loud noises go, it’s something she’ll have to get used to, because it seems it’s far from over.