- Firework sales and noise-related complaints have spiked through June.
- Some firework suppliers saw as much as a 400% increase in sales and fireworks-related noise complaints in New York City saw a 4000% increase, according to recent reports.
- Large pyrotechnic displays in New York City are drawing concerns among community members but officials are turning to non-police forms of intervention.
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Firework sales are shooting through the roof and so are noise complaints in New York City.
Suppliers such as Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, a popular firework company, experienced a 200% to 400% increase in sales every day compared to the past year, the company’s CEO Bruce Zoldan told The Detroit News.
While fireworks saw an uptick in sales, noise complaints in New York City also saw a dramatic increase in firework complaint calls from 2019 of almost 4,000% during the past two weeks of June. Since then, Juneteenth saw the highest number of calls, with 1,700 complaints.
The reason for the sudden proliferation of firework displays is not clear. It could simply be boredom, a release of people’s pent up energy during the pandemic, or a form of protest against police brutality, Gothamist reported.
Another potential reason is cheaper prices. Some firework enthusiasts in Michigan have purchased thousands of dollars worth of fireworks as suppliers promote special sales because of July 4th celebration cancellations and families plan to stay home during the pandemic instead of traveling for summer vacations.
Zoldan of Phantom Fireworks told The Detroit News that nearly half of the people purchasing fireworks were new customers.
Meanwhile, New York City fireworks complaints from June 1 to June 19 totaled 6,385 compared to 27 complaints recorded this time period last year, according to data from NYC 311 that we first saw reported by Gothamist.
But the fireworks set off in New York City aren’t your average store-bought fun and they’re drawing concern from local officials because of their size and intensity.
“This is not the simple firecrackers and little small toy-type rockets, but it was very elaborate,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told Gothamist.
—livia salgado (@shihengqiang) June 22, 2020
The disruption of fireworks in neighborhoods and the potential danger of elaborate pyrotechnic displays is leading to calls for them to stop. But in light of the police killing of George Floyd and protests against police brutality that have erupted since then, non-police intervention is desired.
That’s why Adams wants Cure Violence organizations and the Vulcan Society, a group of Black active and retired firefighters, to encourage and educate people not to use illegal fireworks, according to Gothamist.
“This is local proactive policing, where you don’t want uniformed personnel with a gun and a billy club to come,” Adams told Gothamist. “You want everyday people to talk to the people in their community.”