SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The City of San Jose spent tens of thousands of dollars to try and curtail the use of illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July. It didn’t work.
Timelapse video from the hills overlooking San Jose shows the hundreds – if not thousands – of illegal fireworks explosions over the city.
“Last night, i was telling my husband, seemed worse than in other years, surprisingly,” said downtown resident Patty Greenroe.
Surprising because San Jose spent $50,000 on a public outreach campaign – flooding the community with billboards and on-air announcements – reminding people that fireworks are illegal in the city.
They had hoped to leverage peer pressure or the threat of neighbor turning in neighbor to cut down on displays like those seen across the city last night. But for the most part, the effort was a dud.
“It was actually kind of like a war zone,” said Greenroe. “It was ‘bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.’ I was really surprised.”
We showed the timelapse, which I recorded from my backyard between 9 and ten last night, to city officials who had hoped their campaign would have had more of an effect.
“That’s not really a surprise,” said Cheryl Wessling. “It is a sad statement, though, of how people are not listening to the fireworks message which was really, ‘Let’s show some respect for the community.'”
The city says it will be a long process to change behaviors, and there were some successes.
“At Kelly Park, the rangers noted that it seemed like less fireworks use there,” said Wessling. “And in a couple of neighborhoods we heard reports that it seemed like it [had tapered off] a little bit compared to last year.” The bad news is in some neighborhoods, it was just as bad as ever.”
There was no word of any major injuries from the illegal fireworks use in San Jose, although a teenager in Newark lost a part of his hand to an illegal fireworks explosion.