Anyone who thinks that,  with no City fireworks show planned this year, they would like to do their own should think again.

Setting off fireworks at home can be dangerous and, besides that, illegal.

At the June 22 City Council meeting, Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook reported that fireworks have “really been a problem this year,” starting in May, and outpacing last year’s incidents.

“We’ve had 168 calls for fireworks and we had 142 of those 168 calls since June 1st,” the Chief reported.

Over one weekend, June 19 through June 22, the Department received 78 calls for service, Chief Cook said.

“And please keep in mind,” he said, “that those are only calls where people actually felt annoyed enough to pick up the phone and call in.”

Police viewed fireworks already as a problem last year.

“And we figured they would be a bigger problem this year, one of the reasons being is that there’s no fireworks celebration in town, so more people I think I’ve taken it upon themselves to get involved with fireworks,” he said.

Fireworks such as skyrockets, Roman candles, sparklers, are illegal under City Code, except in cases approved by fire officials.

Beyond that, “the utilization of fireworks in neighborhoods can be very dangerous, especially with the rockets,” said Chief Cook. “You know, they go up, sparks get in peoples roofs. Those roofs can smolder and catch on fire later. So it’s big problem.”

With the issue, “what we need is for the public to help us,” Chief Cook said. “They’ll [residents] call and give us the location, but nobody wants to get involved. Last week, I heard one resident state that she had enough and she wanted to file a complaint on her neighbor for fireworks. So it’s a big problem.”

What is needed, the Chief said at the June 22 meeting, is “a team effort (involving police) with our community partners — people being willing to step up and point out the fireworks.

“They’re dangerous,” the Chief stressed. “They could be dangerous around little children – these rockets that they shoot can stray off in any direction. So it’s imperative that we work as a team to try to make our City safer.”

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.