With Michigan authorities dealing with higher crime rates, more parolees and tighter budgets, hunting for illegal fireworks seems a luxury more police agencies say they simply cannot afford, says the Detroit News. “I don’t have a lot of extra people around to do lower priority things like this,” said Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans. “It’s not that it’s not important. It’s just not as high on the radar screen. With any credible information about something, we’ll look into it, but we’re stretched way too thin.” Michigan law requires special licenses for using fireworks that fly or explode, but they cannot legally be sold. Such explosives can be purchased in Indiana and Ohio, and police here seldom have the resources to examine every roadside merchant, many of which display illegal fireworks openly alongside the rest of their merchandise.
Police officials are more concerned with safety than raids. They said they don’t want the next case involving an errant explosive to ignite a fire or maim someone. Last summer, a 62-year-old man suffered critical injuries from an aerial mortar shell that misfired when he ignited it. In 2001, a man tossed a firecracker into a barn, sparking a fire that killed 19 horses. “Nobody thinks it will happen to them,” said one county sheriff. “The reality is these things do happen and that’s why it’s illegal.”