ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he's directing the New York State Police to launch a crackdown on illegal fireworks brought into the state, primarily from Pennsylvania.
He also said he is providing local governments with additional enforcement help and called on them to take complaints seriously.
Over the past several weeks, residents across Western New York say there has been an increase in fireworks at night. Police say they have received complaints, but can only take action if they know where they're coming from.
Over the weekend, Jamestown Police, along with New York State Police, arrested seven people for illegally transporting fireworks into the state.They also seized a large quantity of fireworks that were turned over to the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit to be destroyed.
Capt. Patrick Fitzgerald with the Orchard Park Police Department says this year, there's been 40 complaints about people setting off fireworks. Last year, he says there were only six.
"We've got more people home setting them off and also more people listening to them and being annoyed by their use so it's kind of the perfect storm that we're seeing out there," Fitzgerald said.
He says people don't even have to drive to Pennsylvania to go get them though.
"The majority of the fireworks that we're seeing are readily available right here in Western New York."
Ground fireworks are legal in New York.
Across the New York, Pennsylvania border is one of Phantom Fireworks' 80 nationwide locations. They also have several tents set up across Western New York.
Bill Weimer is the vice president of the company. He says their sales have skyrocketed more than ever before within the last two weeks.
"This is definitely the biggest, early sales we've ever experienced in our company's history. At this point, we have no reason to believe it won't continue through the fourth of July," Weimer said.
He says because a lot more people have been buying fireworks this year, Phantom Fireworks has started including safety instructions on their website's homepage.
The Erie County District Attorney also warned residents they could face charges if caught with illegal fireworks. If you are caught setting off illegal fireworks, these are potential charges you can face:
- Unlawfully Dealing with Fireworks and Dangerous Fireworks: The sale of illegal fireworks (roman candles, bottle rockets, mines, pyrotechnics, etc.) is a Class “B” misdemeanor. Possession of these illegal fireworks is a violation.
- Disorderly Conduct: Intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof: making unreasonable noise. This charge is a violation.
- Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree: Recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another
- Section 293 of the Buffalo City Ordinance prohibits unreasonable noise.