San Jose residents brace for illegal fireworks over Fourth of July weekend

Frustrated San Jose residents are gearing up for a night of fireworks, not the sanctioned community events, but the sounds of illegal rockets being shot off on their streets.

They say the city's online reporting tool isn't doing enough to stop the problem.

The issue, they say, is getting the kind of proof that results in a citation. 

Residents say it's easy to see fireworks going off, but much harder to snap a picture of the perpetrators in action.

Suzanne Morrone celebrates the Fourth of July by preparing for whiz and bang of nearby fireworks.

She says, "This is the one day a year I water everything. I spray down the roof of the house."

She guards the house. Her husband, a Vietnam veteran with PTSD, takes the pets out of town.

But she's frustrated, that San Jose hasn't done more to stop illegal fireworks.

Morrone says, "It's illegal. The city has not done what they were supposed to do. And they keep making promises."

She adds, "Now they've made it so we have to witness it and document it, which is impossible. It's dangerous."

Three years ago, the city launched an online reporting tool. But hundreds of resident's reports translated into only a handful of city citations.

San Jose Firefighters say it's too soon to say whether it's working as a deterrent.

So they are staging crews near known hot spots for firework activity and preparing for a busy night to come.

Deputy Chief Michael Van Elgort says, "We've added a lot of staffing to ensure we've provided the higher level of coverage throughout the city. We're also using the reporting tool ourselves."

There have been 130 reports over the last month, up from last year.
Downtown resident Jeff Levine has recorded many of them.

Levine says, "We're prisoners of our own house because of everything that's going on around us. And I want to make sure the house doesn't burn down."

He says he's hopeful this year will be different. That there will be more citations issued.

Until then, he says, "I'm basically on guard tonight."

One thing residents did say, they've noticed fewer fireworks in the weeks leading up to the 4th.

You'll find the City of San Jose's online reporting tool here.