Brooklyn Boro President: Residents Shouldn’t Call 911 As Firework Complaints Skyrocket

NYC fireworks
Photo credit Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Borough President Eric Adams said Sunday that New Yorkers shouldn’t call police amid a drastic rise in illegal fireworks in Brooklyn and across the city this year.

Adams and Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. held a news conference Sunday addressing a dramatic increase in firework-related calls to the city. In June 2019, the city recorded 21 fireworks complaints. This year, that number was 1,737.

Adams and Cornegy said these aren’t your everyday fireworks usually set off by young people.

“A firework that I passed by was not a firecracker. It shook the car. It blinded me for a moment,” Adams said.

“These are expensive pyrotechnics,” Cornegy said. “This is not just the pack of M-80s or the pack of firecrackers that some people used to light.”

Brooklyn led the five boroughs in the number of complaints that came in over the past two months, with complaints concentrated in Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush.

But Adams and Cornegy said neighbors annoyed by the seemingly incessant firework displays shouldn’t head straight to the phone to call 911 or 311.

“This is a nonviolent act, so those three numbers that we always dial—911—get over that,” Adams said. “We have left the place of 911 being the response for everything in our city.”

He drew a connection to the anti-police protests over the past several weeks.

“We marched for two plus weeks of ending over-aggressive police action,” Adams said. “We’re not going backwards, folks.”

He’s instead encouraging neighbors to talk it out with people setting off the fireworks.

“Maybe we should talk to them before they do something wrong, maybe we should say ‘good morning’ to them. Maybe we should say, ‘Hello, how was school? Do you need a summer job?’” Adams said.

But he said he wants the NYPD to get to work tracking the supply chain.

“How are they getting here in the first place? That’s what I need the police department for,” he said.

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