New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vows crackdown on illegal fireworks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged Tuesday to crack down on the illegal fireworks that have been hitting all five boroughs, a continuing problem for many cities in the United States.

The mayor announced the formation of a fireworks task force that “will target suppliers, distributors, and owners of large amounts of” these explosives.

Illegal fireworks light up the sky in Brooklyn, NY on June 19, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

“Yes, I listen to them too,” de Blasio said. “We are taking action against illegal fireworks. We will crack down on out-of-state providers behind this dangerous public nuisance so we can cut it off at the source.”

New York Police and Fire Departments will be “conducting investigations and undercover operations in and outside of New York City to disrupt supply chains,” according to the City Council.

New York, known as the city that never sleeps, has been a difficult place to get a shuteye in recent weeks with fireworks throughout the city.

The images from a fireworks show on the streets of Brooklyn went viral last week.

New Yorkers have called a city complaint line more than 1,700 times to report illegal fireworks in the first half of June. There were only 21 complaints registered during this same period last year.

“For any number of reasons, the use of illegal fireworks has skyrocketed this year and that has damaged the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement Tuesday. “The New York Police will continue to work closely with our city partners to address this dangerous problem.”

Spikes in illegal fireworks have recently been reported in cities such as Oakland, San Jose, and Los Angeles, as well as in Hartford, Connecticut.

“It keeps me awake, it keeps my children awake,” Becky Piscitelli, a San Jose resident, said of the recent fireworks. “My dog ​​is hiding under my bed.”

NBC Los Angeles obtained internal LAPD data showing that between June 1 and June 13, LAPD officers were dispatched to 459 reports of illegal fireworks, a 104 percent increase from the same period in 2019, when officers were dispatched to 224 calls.

Legal fireworks are sold in 46 states and the District of Columbia, although many cities and counties prohibit the sale and use of consumer fireworks.