ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With the Fourth of July approaching in Rockford, some residents are wondering how they can tell the sound of gunshots from fireworks?
Many residents who use NextDoor, Ring Neighborhood, and other community safety forums frequently ask if the sounds they are hearing in their neighborhoods are from shootings or celebrations.
According to Kevin Creighton, of AmmoMan.com, there are several differences in the sound between fireworks and gunshots.
Creighton says gunshots have very regular intervals, because each time a pistol fires one bullet from a chamber, it needs to load another round.
“With the firecracker, that mechanical action doesn`t exist. They`ll go off as soon as the fuse is lit,” Creighton told WBTV, adding that fireworks can give off multiple cracks or booms all at once, or at random.
He also said there is usually a whiz or crackling noise to be heard, if the listener is close enough to the sound.
Gunshots, on the other hand, produce a very sharp sound.
“If you hear a ‘pop, pop, pop’ and you`re not seeing any smoke, call law enforcement,” Creighton said.
Experts also say you may see smoke from where a firework has gone off, but you likely won’t see smoke from a gunshot.
In 2018, the City of Rockford installed a gunshot detection system called ShotSpotter, which uses listening posts placed throughout the city, along with a sophisticated software decoding system, to listen for and differentiate between the sound of gunshots and fireworks.
In early June, the Rockford City Council approved a plan to get additional gunshot detection tools, which it said will overlap with ShotSpotter.
Rockford Police have held several public safety forums to address the public’s fear over rampant crime and shootings.
The State of Illinois in general says it is dealing with an increase in gun crimes. In Rockford, Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley established a new gun court to deal with what he called a “gun crime epidemic.”
Hanley said the objective of the gun court would be to hold gun offenders accountable, reduce recidivism, and incentivize law-abiding behavior.
Rockford Police said 400 guns were recovered in the city last year, and officers responded to over 1,000 shootings.