Cities across the US are experiencing a boom in the use of fireworks, with pyrotechnic-related complaints in New York City alone jumping 236 times higher than usual during the first three weeks of June.
Gothamist reported there were 6,385 calls to police about fireworks from 1 to 19 June, compared to 27 in the same period last year.
The New York Times attributed the spike in explosions to, “a release after months of boredom and seclusion in cramped apartments,” as well as “a celebration of hard-fought strides made during the demonstrations, and a show of defiance toward the police.” Other than sparklers, fireworks are illegal in New York.
Ohio-based fireworks company Phantom Fireworks has seen sales increase in stores across the country 200-400%, according to CEO Bruce Zoldan, Forbes reported. Zoldan told the magazine: “If there’s a virus called ‘inside isolation’, fireworks appear to be the vaccine.”
Police in Hartford, Connecticut, who said they had been getting around 200 complaints each day about fireworks, called on people to be mindful of “those with PTSD, babies, children, elderly, & pets”.
Police in Salem, Boston, have started patrolling for fireworks after complaints increased 2,000%, CBS Boston reported.
In Pasadena, California, fireworks-related complaints have increased 400% in June, CBS Los Angeles reported, and last week, the LA County sheriff’s department seized a truckload of illegal fireworks valued at $10,000.
The professional-level displays seen in parts New York have stoked conspiracy theories that, far from being the result of skyrocketing boredom, the fireworks are a “psy-ops” campaign by ities trying to undermine protests, show communities that they need police (to respond to complaints), or even intentionally deprive residents of sleep, causing the protests to lose momentum. There is little evidence supporting this theory.
An article in Vox pointed out that people may also be especially aware of noise caused by fireworks because cities are much quieter than usual, and proposed that another reason behind the increase in fireworks could be an increased supply and lower prices as companies seek to sell fireworks that would otherwise have been used in professional displays as part of 4th of July celebrations, which, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association, account for 80% of fireworks revenue nationally.
Anthony LoBianco, who runs Intergalactic Fireworks, a company selling fireworks in Pennsylvania, told TIME that his sales have risen considerably since reopening after more than two months of lockdown. The state began easing coronavirus restrictions in May.
“Usually there’s one week before July 4th where it’s like a mad rush,” he said. “But that level of activity is happening now. Everyone is buying radically: they’re bored, and they have nothing to do at night. Fireworks fill in that little void instead of sitting at 凯发官网网址多少home and watching TV.”