BOSTON

Fireworks Task Force Formed in Boston, Where Complaints Are Up Over 5,500%

“The fireworks situation is out of control,” Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday

A new task force has been formed to address the skyrocketing levels of illegal fireworks in Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday.

Residents have been hearing fireworks go off nearly every night for weeks in and around the city. Police in the region have seized several caches of fireworks, including this weekend in Dorchester in a rented UHaul van.

“The fireworks situation is out of control,” Mayor Marty Walsh said during an appearance on Boston Public Radio on Friday. “I hear them every night, everyone hears them at night. They’re not even fireworks, they’re more like bombs.”

Fireworks calls to the Boston Police Department increased 5,543% in June compared to the same time last year, according to the City of Boston. There were 139 total calls last June and 7,844 this June.

Fireworks complaints to Boston police are up 2,300% this year, the mayor said.

"People lose sleep, babies get woken up, some people with PTSD experience real harms, pets are terrified and they're fire hazards," Walsh said in a public statement. "Working together with our partners in public safety, the City Council and the community as a Task Force is an important way to address this issue and work to take fireworks off the streets."

Task force members include Boston City Councilors Annissa Essaibi-George, Michael Flahery, Julia Mejia and Michelle Wu. Walsh said additional task force members will be announced next week.

“We’re putting together a group of folks to have a serious conversation over the course of the next several days to talk about how we move forward here,” Walsh said in his radio appearance.

This isn't the first time Walsh has addressed the fireworks issue. At a news conference earlier this month, he revealed that fireworks complaints were up 2,300% in May from May 2019, so much he thought the number was misprinted.

Selling and possessing fireworks is illegal in Massachusetts. It is also illegal to buy them legally from somewhere else and then bring them into the state. 

“This is just completely out of control and we’re working out there," Walsh said in the radio interview Friday. "Police are trying to confiscate, but they seem to be on every corner, in every neighborhood.”

“It is bad. It’s never been like this before,” he said.

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