Friday, December 26, 2014

Things That Go BOOM In the Night

Recent comments to the city’s Twitter account regarding loud explosions during the night time hours prompted us to do a little research here in the public information office.  While there wasn’t a specific call for service about last night’s referenced incident, previous incidents have mentioned powerful types of explosions beyond that of normal small fireworks and these seem to be coming from the same general area.  No one likes a rude awakening, and if it’s happening repeatedly, well, then we need to try to make sure it’s being addressed.  Since we haven’t been able to speak directly to the person who was spreading their own type of Christmas Joy last night, we thought we’d just send out this informational blog for all to see.
Now, on fireworks, they are illegal in Overland Park.  That’s nothing new and if that was all we had to say, this blog would be done.  But, you know we’d come up with something a little more interesting than that for you to read.  See while doing that research about any calls we’ve taken for “fireworks complaints” or “shots fired” type incidents, we also came across two recent reports for mailboxes that were damaged by what appears to be some type of large firework and that is definitely worth covering.  Especially if the two damaged mailboxes are related in any way to the complaints regarding fireworks and booms in the night.
Blowing up a mailbox, for lack of a better way of putting it, might seem like childlike fun, but it has very serious types of consequences.  Those consequences are outlined on the US Postal Inspection Service website, but in short, “mailboxes are considered federal property, and federal law makes it a crime to vandalize them… violators can be fined up to $250,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, for each act of vandalism.”  What?  You thought it was a simple misdemeanor criminal damage to property?  No, sorry, the criminal damage property code starts out, “…by means other than by fire or explosives…”
So we send this word of warning out to the nocturnal person or persons who have enjoyed the sounds of their own made thunder in the late night and wee morning hours – Your neighbors don’t like it and we are telling them right now to call us when it happens, every time if they have to.  And to the person or persons who might have thought it was "just a mailbox", well, we would like to remind you that we at the Overland Park Police Department are a pretty big deal, but the US Postal Inspection Service is a federal agency and any report we take about these damaged mailboxes, we’ll be letting them know about.
Be safe out there and if we don’t mention it again before then, Happy New Year!