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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio vows crackdown on illegal fireworks

The city that never sleeps has been a tough place to get shuteye because of the fireworks displays.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed Tuesday to crack down on illegal fireworks that have been plaguing the city's five boroughs — an ongoing problem for numerous cities across America.

The mayor announced formation of a fireworks task force that "will target suppliers, distributors and possessors of large quantities" of fireworks.

Image: Fireworks over Brooklyn
Illegal fireworks illuminate the sky over Brooklyn, N.Y., on Friday, June 19, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

"Yes, I hear them, too," de Blasio said. "We're taking action on illegal fireworks. We'll be cracking down on the out-of-state suppliers behind this dangerous public nuisance so we can cut it off at the source."

City Hall said the New York police and fire departments will be "conducting investigations and sting operations within and outside New York City to disrupt supply chains."

New York, known as the city that never sleeps, has been a tough place to get any shuteye in recent weeks with fireworks going off all over town.

Video of a wild fireworks display over the streets of Brooklyn went viral last week.

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New Yorkers made more than 1,700 calls to a city complaint line to report illegal fireworks in the first half of June. There were just 21 registered complaints during the same time last year.

"For any number of reasons, the use of illegal fireworks has skyrocketed this year and that has damaged the quality of life in our neighborhoods," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement Tuesday. "The NYPD will continue to work closely with our city partners to address this dangerous issue."

Spikes in illegal fireworks have been reported recently in cities like Oakland, San Jose and Los Angeles in California, as well as Hartford, Connecticut.

"It keeps me up. It keeps my kids up," San Jose resident Becky Piscitelli told NBC Bay Area. "My dog burrows underneath my bed."

NBC Los Angeles obtained internal police data showing that from June 1 to June 13, officers were sent to 459 reports of illegal fireworks, a 104 percent increase from the same period in 2019, when officers were sent to 224 calls.

Legal fireworks are sold in 46 states and the District of Columbia, although many cities and counties ban sales and use of consumer pyrotechnics.