The New York Police Department is preparing for its annual Independence Day ritual of sweeping the five boroughs for illegal fireworks. And this year they’re hoping to deter the city’s aspiring pyros by installing cameras near locations that have been hotbeds of fireworks activity in the past.
NYPD Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez said the department determined the locations for the cameras and additional light towers based on 311 and 911 complaints logged over the last few years. The NYPD is also launching a poster campaign urging people to report any fireworks-related activities they see in their neighborhood and offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.
During a press conference this afternoon Gomez told reporters that the department ramps up its enforcement of fireworks activity every year between July 2 and July 4. “Sometimes July 3 is just as busy as July 4,” he said. Starting Thursday, the NYPD will be deploying 100 confiscation teams across the city.
Despite the uptick in enforcement over the next three days, officers are on fireworks alert all summer long, as evidenced by a bust in Queens last week in which officers seized 100 cases of illegal fireworks worth nearly $100,000. So far this year police have arrested 49 people on fireworks-related charges, Gomez said.
If you’re wondering, basically everything you could possibly set ablaze in the name of the U.S. of A. is illegal in New York City. Aerial displays, bottle rockets, firecrackers, even sparklers are subject to seizure and could land users in jail. But the good news is that once the NYPD seizes your stash, it might end up as part of the department’s own bitchin’ fireworks show.