BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore officials on Wednesday encouraged Independence Day fun, but warned against the use of illegal fireworks and other dangerous activities this weekend.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison warned residents of the dangers of illegal fireworks.

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“Fireworks are not only illegal in Baltimore City, but they are extremely dangerous,” said Harrison. “They can cause loss of vision, severe burns and other serious injuries. Even fires. Not only can they cause physical harm, but they can cause anxiety, stress, and loss of sleep to our neighbors and pets.”

The commissioner said that officers aren’t only looking for fireworks users, but those who are selling and distributing illegal fireworks. Police will also be looking for those celebrating in a more dangerous way.

“We will be actively patrolling and looking for anyone discharging a firearm into the air, which is also illegal and dangerous,” said Harrison. “Bullets come down with the same velocity as they go up. Those caught firing guns into the air will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

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“While the fireworks display may be canceled this year in Baltimore, we strongly urge you to consider safe alternatives for the enjoyment of the holiday,” said Inspector Del Holmes of the Office of the Fire Marshal.

Holmes suggested using glow sticks, noisemakers and confetti-filled balloons in place of potentially dangerous fireworks.

“As residents of the city of Baltimore, we want you to know that your safety remains our top priority,” said Mayor Brandon Scott. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the safe alternatives as the Inspector mentioned and celebrate safely and responsibly as you have your cookouts this weekend and eat your crabs and eat your hamburgers and hotdogs, but we want you to be safe.

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“And for the record, if you have extra crabs, the mayor is looking for an invitation,” Scott said.

CBS Baltimore Staff