INDIANAPOLIS — As we get closer to the Fourth of July, more Indianapolis residents are wondering if the booms outside their homes are gunshots or fireworks.
Chris Staab, president of the Near East Side Community Organization, said it’s especially a problem in his neighborhood.
”It’s a nightly occurrence of is it gunshots or fireworks,” said Staab.
He said it’s all types of fireworks and they get started just after dark.
”Some of them are very small, the bottle rockets and some are very large concussion bombs,” Staab said. “And they detonate and they’ll rattle the windows in a house.”
Staab said he starts hearing more fireworks in the neighborhood every year leading up to the Fourth of July.
”On a weekend we’ve heard them going up until 2 o’clock in the morning,” Staab said.
The fireworks themselves are frustrating for many of the neighbors.
”We have families that have young children that are trying to get their children put to sleep, we have military veterans that have suffered some post-traumatic stress, we have pet owners,” Staab said.
On top of those concerns, neighbors are worried about whether or not the booms outside their homes could actually be gunshots, and if the police should be called.
”If people think that people are firing guns we want to know,” said IMPD Lt. Shane Foley.
Foley said this is the time of year where shots fired calls go up because of fireworks going off.
”What we want people to do is follow the ordinance, be respectful of their neighbors,” Foley said.
In Marion County, an ordinance restricts firework use outside of June 28 through July 9th. On those days fireworks can be launched off from property you own or have permission to use from 5 p.m. to two hours after dark. The hours are extended to 10 a.m. to midnight on July 4.
Staab said he expects the confusing blasts to only increase between now and the holiday, sparking concerns for property as well.
”We have to be extra vigilant knowing we have these structures around that are friable and could go up in flames really quickly,” he said.
Foley said officers will intervene if firework use starts to threaten property or safety.
”Use fireworks in a responsible manner,” Foley said. “Not firing them at people or at property where it could potentially cause a fire risk.”
You can find the firework ordinance for more than 10 central Indiana counties in this story.