Friday, June 26, 2020 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a new Task Force to address the increase of illegal fireworks in neighborhoods across Boston ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. The Task Force will be made up of the Mayor’s Chief of Civic Engagement, the four At-Large City Councilors, the Boston Arson Squad (Fire Investigation Unit), the Boston Police Department’s Bureau of Community Engagement, and community leaders.
“Fireworks are a serious issue not only in the City of Boston, but all across the country. People lose sleep, babies get woken up, some people with PTSD experience real harms, pets are terrified and they’re fire hazards,” said Mayor Walsh. “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.”
The At-Large City Councilors joining the Task Force include Councilors Annissa Essaibi-George, Michael Flaherty, Julia Mejia and Michelle Wu. The other Task Force members will be announced next week.
While there have always been some illegal fireworks leading up to the Fourth of July, this year has been worse than usual. Fireworks calls to the Boston Police Department were up by a factor of 5,543% in June 2020, compared to June 2019. There were 139 calls last June and 7,844 this June, to date. Fireworks calls to service for the year were up by a factor of 4,145% since January, compared to last year. There were 201 calls from January to June in 2019 and a total of 8,533 calls in 2020.
Illegal fireworks pose significant dangers to the safety of our residents and their property, and do not belong in our communities. Massachusetts General Law (Chapter 148, Section 39) states that it is illegal for residents to use, possess or sell fireworks in Massachusetts. It is also illegal to purchase them legally elsewhere and then transport them into the state.
If residents hear or see fireworks being displayed in their neighborhood, please call 911 immediately for a police response. If residents wish to report the illegal purchasing or selling of fireworks, they can do so anonymously by contacting the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1 (800) 494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).