By CBSDFW.com Staff

MESQUITE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Mesquite said it will aggressively address the illegal possession or use of fireworks, as well as celebratory gunfire and driving while intoxicated through its “Celebrate Safely” campaign.

The city has begun its community-wide public education efforts and during the Independence Day weekend will have escalated enforcement with the deployment of police and fire staff into neighborhoods.

The city is offering free yard signs to residents to help get the word out.

Celebrate Safely yard sign (credit: City of Mesquite)

There are signs in English and Spanish announcing “No Fireworks, Gunfire, DWI” and special signs letting their neighbors know “A Veteran Lives Here – Please be Mindful.”

The signs are available now, while supplies last, at these locations:

· Parks and Recreation Administration, 1515 N. Galloway Ave., Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

· Evans Recreation Center, 1116 Hillcrest Street, Mon. – Fri., 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun. 1 – 6 p.m.

· Florence Recreation Center, 2501 Whitson Way, Mon. – Fri., 6 – 9 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun. 1 – 6 p.m.

· Goodbar Senior Center, 3000 Concord Drive, Mon. – Sat., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

· Rutherford Senior Center, 900 Rutherford Drive, Mon. – Sat., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Residents will be required to provide the address they plan to place the sign.

Signs should only be placed on private property, and it is illegal to place signs in public rights-of-way and on utility or traffic control poles.

“Our message to those in Mesquite with fireworks is that our deployment teams will be out in the community, and we will seize your illegal fireworks and issue you a citation. And, for those who choose to participate in celebratory gunfire or drive while intoxicated, we will arrest you,” said City Manager Cliff Keheley.

He also said the city needs the help of citizens to report a specific address of illegal fireworks activity by calling 972-204-4888 and call 911 if they witness gunfire or suspected DWI.

The penalties for fireworks, gunfire and DWI in Mesquite can be costly.

· Up to $17,000 in fines, possible jail time and loss of a driver’s license for drivers who get a DWI.

· As much as $4,000 and the possibility of up to one year in jail for the illegal discharge of a firearm.

· Up to $835 in City fines and court costs for the discharge of illegal fireworks.

· Up to $585 in City fines and court costs for the possession of illegal fireworks.

To report this illegal activity, the public should contact the city and provide the address of the incident, as this will help police and fire with their response efforts.

· For gunfire reports, call non-emergency dispatch at 972-204-4888.

· For fireworks reports, call non-emergency dispatch at 972-204-4888, email fireworks@mesquitepolice.org or use the Police Web Report tool at http://www.cityofmesquite.com/CelebrateSafely.

· If you spot a car being driven in a dangerous manner and it may be a DWI – stay away and call 911.

A pregnant mother from Mesquite told CBS 11 she appreciates this initiative.

“Last year, I was just severely traumatized by the idea of maybe a bullet hitting her and she’s in her own room and I’m not gonna know anything about it,” said Xochilt Madden. “I hope that this Fourth of July, people will take this seriously and not only understand the safety repercussions of the carelessness of fireworks and gunfire but also to be considerate of everyone with their own mental health and everything.”

CBSDFW.com Staff