MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — During a time when gun violence is becoming more common across Minneapolis, the consistent sound of fireworks is increasing fear and anxiety.
It’s not just the frequency or time that is a concern for some neighborhoods. It’s trying to determine if it’s actually fireworks they’re hearing.
As Judy Christian wrapped up some yard work outside her north Minneapolis home, she knew the calm currently on her block would not last long.
“It’s more steady, it’s louder, every night,” Christian said.
The distant booms and nearby crackles from late night fireworks aren’t just keeping her up either.
“My dog is having a hard time sleeping. She’s so nervous,” Christian said.
Since Memorial Day, the City of Minneapolis says there have been 295 calls to 311 about fireworks. There were only 16 reports during the same time span last year.
The NextDoor app is filled with posts from people complaining about the noise, while some wonder if they heard gunshots. Shootings have spiked across the city along with the fireworks complaints. Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder says Sunday evening, as police investigated a northside homicide, the explosive sounds filled the air, even as police answered a question about them.
“We would love to be able to have the ability to go after fireworks complaints, things like that, and we will when we have the time,” Elder said. “But sadly, you know, we’re really focusing our efforts on the preservation of life,” Elder said.
Police say ShotSpotter technology can differentiate fireworks from gunshots, as can the ears of experienced officers. Christian just wants to give her ears a rest.
“As much as I’d like to have it quiet and have the police come out, they’re not gonna come out because there’s more important things to do,” Christian said.
Police say officers respond to fireworks complaints on a regular basis, but response times depend on pending calls and their priority level.
Anyone caught with illegal fireworks could face a fine starting at $700.