Richmond Offers $2,500 Reward to Residents Who Report Illegal Fireworks

City officials said anyone who reports on the illegal fireworks will get a $2,500 cash reward and it will lead to an arrest, successful prosecution or the guilty party paying a fine.

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If you live in Richmond and you know who is setting off illegal fireworks, you could get paid to tell on the person doing it.

The person who reports it could be paid $2,500 and the person responsible could get arrested or a citation.

$2,500 is a lot of money but some people may view this as a desperate move.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said that these are desperate times for people who live in the community during the Fourth of July holiday and for

police officers who are trying to keep the community safe.

“We had to do something,” he said.

Butt shot a video of illegal fireworks that was seen from his home last year.

“Everybody knows who is doing it,” he said. “We got to provide some motivation to assist law enforcement.”

That motivation is money. A $2,500 cash reward for reports that lead to an arrest, successful prosecution or the guilty party paying a fine.

Last year, the Richmond Police Department said they received close to 2,600 calls for service related to illegal fireworks and records show only one citation was issued.

Police said that people know if you’re not caught in the act, an arrest is almost impossible.

“It’s always been frustrating,” said Matt Stonebraker with Richmond police. “When you respond to a call and the perpetrators are no longer on scene, the fireworks are already ignited. Possessing, selling, storing or discharging any fireworks is a misdemeanor, punishable to a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail.

Butt is working on amending a fireworks ordnance that gives officers more tools to use to make an arrest.

“I think money is a good incentive for most people and if you want to stop something and no one is coming forward then money is a way to do that,” he said.

Butt can’t think of any other city in the Bay Area that is offering such an incentive.

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