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Mayor Announces New Multi-Agency Task Force to Crack Down on Illegal Fireworks

(Alexander Kagan, Unsplash)

June 23, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the establishment of a multi-agency task force to crack down on illegal fireworks sales.

The move comes after a spike in illegal fireworks usage that has plagued city neighborhoods in recent weeks.

The new task force will be made up of NYPD Intelligence Bureau officers, FDNY Fire Marshals and members of the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the mayor said in a statement Tuesday morning.

It will consist of 42 members who will target the sale and distribution of large quantities of illegal fireworks, the mayor said.

Investigations and sting operations will be conducted inside and outside of the city to disrupt supply chains, he said.

“Illegal fireworks are dangerous and a public nuisance,” de Blasio said.

“We’re cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep,” he said.

Residents across the city have been complaining of loud illegal fireworks being set off at all hours during the night and waking them up.

The city’s non-emergency phone line system recorded 11,260 fireworks complaints across the five boroughs from June 1 to June 21, according to official 311 data.

Brooklyn accounted for the highest number of disturbances with 4,588 complaints; followed by Manhattan in second with 3,258 complaints; the Bronx had 1,611 complaints; Queens had 1,368 complaints, and Staten Island had the lowest number of complaints with 435.

Queens has seen a massive jump in 311 complaints this month. There were just 27 fireworks complaints in Queens for the June 1 to June 21 period last year.

Some of the increase can be attributed to the expansion of the 311 system. Residents are now able to file complaints online, as opposed to just being able to call.

The areas in Queens with the highest number of complaints for the first three weeks in June are Far Rockaway, which clocked 100 complaints in the period, followed by Ridgewood at 99, and the Astoria zip code of 11102 that had 71 complaints.

Fireworks are illegal to use, buy, sell or transport in New York City due to their unpredictability and dangerous nature. Some people have been badly injured in recent works due to fireworks.

On Saturday, a 33-year-old man was hospitalized with serious injuries after setting off fireworks from inside his Brooklyn home.

The man was shooting fireworks out of his second-floor window when one bounced off the window and exploded on his chest, the New York Daily News reported.

On Monday morning a homeless man was sleeping on the sidewalk when a suspect threw a lit firework on him which exploded causing burns to the victims back.

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