Police: Fireworks often mistaken for gun shots

Lieutenant Doug Mozen with the Eugene Police Department said this time of year they get calls from the public every year fearing the worst.

Posted: Jul 2, 2018 6:37 PM
Updated: Jul 2, 2018 6:40 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Many people mistake gunfire for fireworks during this time of year, but the Eugene Police Department still want the public to call police if they notice anything suspicious.

Lieutenant Doug Mozen said they get calls from the public every year fearing the worst when it’s actually someone just celebrating Independence Day early. While Eugene police say they take all shots fired calls seriously, Mozen said the majority of them turn out to be false around the Fourth of July.

Mozen said when actual shots are fired, they’ll get multiple calls on it, while a firework mistaken for gunshots gets only one call most times.

Mozen said it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the sound of gunfire and a firecracker. He said visual cues like showers of sparks are a better way to tell which one is which. He recommends the public still give police a call if they suspect anything out of the ordinary.

“If you think you've heard shots fired, tell somebody about it. If you see something say something, said Lt. Mozen,” Don't talk yourself out of the problem just because it could be fireworks. At the same time use the data available to you.”

Many fireworks that make those loud bangs are illegal in Oregon. Mozen said they’ve already had 29 fireworks calls in the last few days.

Tampering with fireworks and altering them is a felony.

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