Thursday, July 1, 2010

NYPD Ready to Blow Up Your Illegal Fireworks Display by Stephen Geffon - Leader-Observer

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With the Fourth of July approaching, local precinct police officers will be taking a zero tolerance stance on fireworks use.

“For children’s safety and the safety of all residents, we are going to make sure that we prevent the discharge of fireworks,” said a police department official.

Fireworks burn at an extremely high temperature and can quickly burn through clothing and skin, causing serious injuries. Items such as sparklers are mistakenly thought to be safe, when in fact they can be very dangerous. Fireworks should only be handled by trained professionals, authorities said.

NYPD strategy this year for combating fireworks use includes sending crime prevention officers into areas where past fireworks incidents have occurred and warning residents that using fireworks will result in fines and arrests.

A law passed by the City Council imposes an additional $750 penalty – on top of existing fines – on anyone caught using fireworks.

Flyers will be put in residents' mailboxes warning about this tougher stance, which includes a policy of confiscating automobiles used in fireworks trafficking. The flyers also publicize a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals possessing or distributing fireworks.

On July 4, additional NYPD officers are expected to be assigned to the 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift with officers in plainclothes and in uniform specifically assigned to strictly enforce the law.

“The illegal use of fireworks is a dangerous activity, and their use often leads to tragic results,” said NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Kelly said the NYPD is increasing their efforts as the 4th of July approaches in order to ensure public safety in the city.