Illegal fireworks crackdown in New York City

New York City has launched a new effort to crack down on illegal fireworks. All consumer fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal to use, buy, sell, or transport in the city. Several state and federal agencies will join the effort in stopping the influx of fireworks.

"We also know there is a real problem with the wrong kind of fireworks," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a briefing Wednesday. "Illegal fireworks are noisy, they disrupt the peace of the neighborhood and they can also be dangerous."

Last year, a three-year-old boy in the Bronx was burned by an illegal firework that exploded outside his window.

The task force will include 32 officers from the NYPD, 12 fire marshals from the FDNY, and 10 deputy sheriffs from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

"So, what the task force is looking to do is develop information on who the major suppliers are," Sheriff Joe Fucito said. "We are going to interdict these illegal fireworks before they come into New York City. That's a good thing for the people."

But when asked how the task force would do that — by random car stops, using some new technology, or some other tactic — Fucito would only offer this.

"I can't go into the great detail of all of our investigative techniques," he said. "I know you would like to know, it's very interesting, but it would actually be a detriment to our investigations."

Last year, the city launched a task force to stop the flow of illegal fireworks after weeks of numerous complaints of fireworks going off at all hours of the day and night.

Fireworks complaints skyrocketed last June across the city.  The 311 system fielded nearly 9,000 complaints in the first three weeks of June 2020.  That was compared to just 28 during the same period a year previously.

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