Catching someone shooting off fireworks is a tricky thing.
In the weeklong period surrounding the Fourth of July holiday from 2008 to 2013, on average, Lawrence police responded to 204 fireworks calls and handed out three citations per year.
Then there was 2014.
Amid increased calls from residents for enforcement of the city-wide fireworks ban, the Lawrence Police Department upped its batting average. In fact, it did 10 times better than usual.
From June 30 through July 6, officers responded to 226 fireworks calls and dished out 34 citations, according to Trent McKinley, a Lawrence police spokesman.
McKinley said the department assigned several officers to specifically handle fireworks calls this year. That and a slower-than-normal July 4 evening contributed to more citations, he said.
Police Chief Tarik Khatib last week said he would try to emphasize enforcement of the fireworks ban and deploy 27 on-duty officers the night of July 4 (a normal Friday night calls for 18).
Lawrence banned fireworks within city limits back in 2002, but that has done little to dissuade residents from celebrating Independence Day with backyard pyrotechnics. After last weekend, at least 34 residents may take the ban more seriously in future years.