O’FALLON, Ill. – The O’Fallon Police Department is cracking down this year on illegal fireworks. The department says they have seen a spike in recent years in illegal fireworks and now the department is acting. The police department says bigger fireworks, such as the mortar fireworks and rockets, are illegal to shoot off in the state of Illinois without a permit.

“We see them all around this neighborhood over here back that way we could stand in our backyard and see them all,” says O’Fallon resident Meghan Hrnciar. She’s lived in O’Fallon for four years and says illegal fireworks are an issue year after year. She’s a former veteran and married to a veteran and says the fireworks are not only dangerous but could be triggering.

“It’s an extreme difference from us being calm and there’s a large noise — but they feel like they’re under attack. So, just be kind and then realize who your neighborhoods are because you never know what’s going on with them,” Hrnciar explains.

The O’Fallon police department says in past years— they have seen a sharp increase in the number of residents setting off illegal fireworks in the city limits. The fireworks have also greatly increased in size and can resemble commercial fireworks. The department says on average they get 60 to 70 firework complaints. Because of this— the department will be increasing patrols on the Fourth of July weekend. residents say they feel safer.

“I feel safe, and something that makes you feel protected. Because you never know if a firework can go into my night window and cause a huge fire,” says O’Fallon resident, Robert Griffin.

Hrnciar says there are other ways to celebrate the Fourth of July safely. “You can have sparklers other or have little smoke bombs and little poppers. Some people even do old-school pots and pans that’s cool. Or, just come to the local park and they have a Fourth of July show every year,” Hrnciar adds.

The department says its focus will be on large fireworks displays and officers will be issuing citations if there’s probable cause.

For a list of city ordinances, click here.