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Cleveland police calls for illegal fireworks up more than 600% compared to 2019

Posted at 8:50 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 11:50:01-04

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Police Department is dealing with a flood of complaint calls about the use of illegal fireworks across all parts of the city.

Police department data shows fireworks calls up by more than 600% compared to last year at this time, with 122 calls in June 2019, and 868 calls thus far this June, as of June 25, 2020.

The map below show areas where residents reported fireworks.

Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli believes COVID-19 isolation is contributing to the increase in illegal fireworks usage.

“It’s not a small number, it’s not an isolated incident, this is across the board, east side, west side,” Brancatelli said.

“It’s dangerous, it is very dangerous.”

“It’s amped-up, when you used to be able to buy at the corner store some sparklers and a few skyrockets, and some roman candles, but now we’re talking about these M500’s that sound like dynamite.”

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek said he called on the new city Safety Director to look into stepping-up enforcement of Cleveland's nuisance law, and the state law, which earns an illegal fireworks user up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“I can’t understand for the life of me why this is not being enforced and now I’m hearing from officers that CPD has de-emphasized fireworks calls," Polensek said.

“You had a situation in the fifth district a week ago where a young man almost blew his face off.”

“We’re not only seeing the issue, the threat to public safety but just the quality of life, where they’re shooting them off at 3 o’clock in the morning, 4 o’clock in the morning, why?”

“The nuisance laws are not being enforced in the city, it’s become clear to all of us, they’re not being enforced.”

“We don’t need to have this rampant use of illegal fireworks in our neighborhoods.”

“I asked the city and I’m going to continue to ask the city, enforce the laws.”