CHAMPAIGN — In the wake of multiple shootings in Champaign during June, the Champaign police department wants to remind the public that fireworks that sound like gunfire are not only a bad idea, they are illegal.
"Celebratory gunfire remains a problem in many cities, particularly during the July 4th holiday season, and sadly, it can often have tragic results when innocent people are hit by the bullets and injured or killed. The reality is that any bullet discharged from a gun, even into the sky, must land at some location, and the risks are significant for injury or death," a release from the police department said.
Police anticipate that calls about possible shootings will increase in the next week when people may actually be hearing fireworks.
Police plan to increase patrols in areas of the city that have the highest amount of gunshot and fireworks activity according to their records.
Anyone caught firing a gun or fireworks will be arrested or cited.
Champaign Fire Department Fire Marshal John Koller explained what fireworks are illegal.
"If you have to light the wick of a firework and it either explodes or shoots in the air, it is illegal to use in Champaign County," he said. "Leave the fireworks to certified professionals or go to the Champaign County Freedom Celebration."
Anyone aware of people firing guns as a means of celebrating is asked to call 911 or Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477.
Effective July 1, the fine for using illegal fireworks in Champaign will be $185.