The Mayor is finally doing something about the fireworks that have been lighting up the sky over the city for the last few weeks. He’s convening a task force. There will be a public education campaign on the dangers of fireworks. Fireworks are and remain illegal in NYC.
The task force will consist of 10 officers from NYPD Intelligence Bureau, 12 FDNY Fire Marshals and 20 members of the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, and will focus on illegal fireworks sales.
“The task force will target suppliers, distributors and possessors of large quantities of illegal fireworks by conducting investigations and sting operations within and outside of New York City to disrupt supply chains,” announcement said.
Asked at this morning’s press conference if NYPD will confiscate fireworks, Mayor said that with the increase in shootings (murders and shootings are up 25% and 24% respectively citywide) they have more important things to focus on.
“The most important thing is for the NYPD to work on the most important issues and right now, given the other challenges we’re facing, I want them focused on the most fundamental issues of public safety. So, I’m concerned first and foremost about addressing the shootings problem we’re having. That’s where the central focus of the NYPD needs to be on reducing that violence and they’re making very important moves to address that. The fireworks can be unsafe. I’m not for a moment missing that, but the challenge a lot of times with fireworks is that particularly young people fire them off and then leave immediately; so it’s very hard to find them and address it in real time, in a way that actually would make a difference,” Mayor said.
He suggested that those who want to complain about fireworks call 3-1-1.
As Gothamist reported – people have been doing exactly that with complaints skyrocketing to over 400 times the complaints last year. (They also have awesome visualizations of how the fireworks complaints spread across the city over June and you can see how a few dots grow to blanket the city.)