Q: Are fireworks legal in the City of Santa Monica?

A: No fireworks, including the so-called “safe and sane” fireworks, are allowed within the city of Santa Monica, even if they are legal for use within the city they were purchased. According to section 8.40.020 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code, police and fire department personnel shall seize all fireworks, including “safe and sane” fireworks that are stored, used or handled within the city limits, except when permitted for such use by the city of Santa Monica. Police and fire have teamed up to enforce the use of fireworks within the city limits.

There are several reasons the city of Santa Monica has outlawed the use of fireworks within the city. Several hazards are associated with the use of fireworks, including the “safe and sane” fireworks. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 10,000 people are treated each year in the United States for fireworks-related injuries. The majority of these injuries are associated with Fourth of July celebrations.

The use of fireworks also presents a substantial risk to property damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks cause approximately 32,600 reported fires a year. These fires included structure, vehicle and outdoor fires. With the limited space within the city and the amount of dry brush in the area, a fire can happen very quickly.

You can report illegal firework activity to the Santa Monica Police Department by calling the non-emergency dispatch line at (310) 458-8491. If you are reporting a fire please dial 911.

Independence Day is a day of celebration, and the Santa Monica Police Department urges you to leave the fireworks up to the professionals.

Q: Will the city of Santa Monica have a Fourth of July fireworks show or celebration?

A: The city of Santa Monica will not be sponsoring a fireworks show at the beach this year, but has teamed up with Santa Monica College to present the “Celebrate America” picnic and fireworks show held at the college on June 26, 2010. This celebration is one-of-a-kind in Santa Monica and is on the college campus with free parking off of Pico Boulevard at 17th Street. The celebration includes live musical entertainment, food and a spectacular fireworks show. The gates open at 7 p.m. and the fireworks start at 9 p.m. This is an enjoyable event for all ages.

There is also the Fourth of July Parade taking place on Sunday, July 4, at 9:30 a.m. This is the fourth annual parade and is sure to be great. The parade route starts on Main Street at Pico Boulevard and travels south to Marine Street. Invite your family and friends to line Main Street to enjoy the parade. I participated in this parade and it is a great time. For more information about this parade, please visit the Ocean Park Association website at www.opa-sm.org.

Summertime crime prevention tip:

The last thing anyone wants to do is come home to find their residence has been broken into. I am here to remind you to close and lock all your doors and windows before leaving your home. Often with the heat of the summer many people leave a window open to keep their residence cool while they are away during the daytime. This gives burglars the opportunity to enter your home with relative ease. One way to keep your residence secure while still keeping it cool is to install a locking device that only allows your window to open about two inches.

And speaking of residential security, make summer the time when you really take a look at “hardening the target.” One key to burglary prevention is adequate interior and exterior lighting. For the interior of the home, timers on the lights are recommended. For the exterior, each outside doorway should be lighted with a minimum of a 60 watt light over the entrances. For homes with wide or deep yards or parking areas, a high-pressure sodium security light with a light sensor (photo-electric cell) may be considered.

Another area of your home that you should pay attention to is the shrubbery around your property. It can provide concealment for burglars. Always keep it trimmed, away from doors, windows, and yard lighting.

For crime prevention information, visit our website at www.santamonicapd.org.

If you see any suspicious activity, report it to the Santa Monica Police Department by calling (310) 458-8491, or 911 if you witness an emergency. Remember, do not confront individuals! Instead, be a good witness and be aware. Your life is precious, materials can be replaced.

This column was prepared by Neighborhood Resource Officer Joseph Cortez (Beat 4: Montana Avenue to Interstate-10, 20th Street to Ocean Avenue, excluding Downtown). He can be reached at (424) 200-0684.