New York City has been bombarded with fireworks in recent weeks, with more than 1,700 complaints filed with the NYPD since the start of the month.
Still, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams advised on Sunday that neighbors should not call the NYPD to complain about other shooting off pyrotechnics at night.
While telling reporters on Sunday that prevention programs such as LifeCamp could reduce the commonality of illegal fireworks, Adams stressed cops should not be responsible for the noise complaints after weeks of calls to reform policing as a result of the death of George Floyd.
“We want a good community response to dealing with a nuisance, this is a nonviolent act. Those three numbers that we dial, 911? Get over that, this is not the city that you said you wanted to live in, and now you have a role to ensure that it’s not done,” Adams said. “Either we’re going to stop heavy-handed policing and our communities are going to be engaged… We marched for two-plus weeks over ending over-aggressive police action, we’re not going backwards.”
Over 1,737 311 complaints of illegal fireworks were recorded in the first two weeks of June alone.
But the fireworks that are commonly seen in recent weeks, according to Adams and Councilman Robert Cornegy, are professional grade. Adams says he witnessed a display that blinded him and shook his car recently.
“These are not the firecrackers I remember playing with as a child, this is one short of a grenade. We need to make sure these dangerous devices are off our streets,” Adams said, holding up a spent box with nine 12 silos within it.
On the side of the box were the words “TNT,” “Diversion” and “Finale power.”
But while Adams says calling the cops should be a no-go for neighbors, the NYPD must play a role stopping what he sees as a possible trafficking of fireworks that could be dangerous for novice pyros. For this he claims there could be a specific task force for hunting down stockpiles.
“The reality is, it’s not the same equipment. What I need NYPD to do is with their intelligence find out how these fireworks] are getting into our communities,” Cornegy said. “These are expensive pyrotechnics. This is not just a pack of M80s.”
Matthew Norwood of Bedford-Stuyvesant told amNewYork Metro that, in one instance that happened Saturday as the sun was going down, some amateur pyro-technicians pointed one firework similar to that used as an example by the borough president at his car while his grandchildren were on board.
“I had my grandkids with me. You see all this stuff?” Norwood said pointing at the remains of packaging on the corners of Gates Avenue and Marcus Garvey Boulevard. “They pointed it right at me and boom!”
According to Norwood, he called the police to help in the matter.