NEW YORK - It was a noisy and violent weekend all across New York City, with fireworks going off in some neighborhoods for hours, even in the middle of the night.
The Mayor’s Office confirmed that there were more than 2,000 3-1-1 fireworks calls in a two-week period earlier this month, compared to just 21 for the same period in 2019.
Many residents feel that there is no enforcement.
“We are sick and tired,” said City Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr. “Last night, it was like Beirut in Bed-Stuy with the amount of illegal fireworks that were going off.”
Cornegy joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to ask Mayor Bill de Blasio to use community-based civilians from the Cure Violence networks to handle complaints, rather than police.
“Now it’s time for all those who called 3-1-1, who don’t want heavy-handed policing, it’s time for you to come out of your homes and go talk to the young people or the people on your block who are using fireworks like this,” said Adams.
Other community leaders say they are concerned about the double-digit number of shooting incidents over the weekend, as well as the noisy illegal fireworks displays which can camouflage the sound of gunshots.
“We’re being infiltrated by these enormous amounts of fireworks that are going on while these shootings are being hidden behind that particular tool,” said Tony Herbert, President of Advocates Without Borders.
Herbert says it could be dangerous for private citizens to confront people with fireworks, but he does support the involvement of community groups if there is oversight and accountability.
Adams, a former NYPD Deputy Inspector, says that the role of the police should be to stop the flow of fireworks into the city.