HUDSON COUNTY, NJ - With complaints skyrocketing over the past two weeks, officials in Hoboken and Jersey City are fired up about snuffing out the ongoing fireworks barrage currently lighting up the skies and social media alike.
"A major quality of life problem in the tri-state area right now is fireworks being set off from 10pm thru 4am nightly," said Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante, after 12 straight nights of steady fireworks complaints. "The following are some of the theories that have been discussed on mainstream media as well as social media: 1) support for protests, 2) freedom of expression, 3) teens and young adults releasing frustration for months of being stuck home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and 4) police, fire and government doing it In retaliation of protests."
With footage surfacing of FDNY personnel allegedly setting off fireworks outside a Brooklyn Station, Ferrante took the opportunity to address that last theory, as it pertains to this side of the Hudson.
"After dealing with this the past 12 nights in Hoboken, I can assure our residents that no police officers, firefighters nor government officials are setting off these fireworks in Hoboken," he said. "No matter what the reason is, the time that the conduct is occurring is unacceptable and is causing problems for Hoboken’s 53,000+ residents and first responders. We are taking immediate steps after what our residents and officers dealt with over the weekend."
Hoboken's picturesque waterfront has been a focal point for illicit fireworks. Burned up debris litters the street and walkways along Frank Sinatra Drive.
"The consistent amount of large groups congregating on the waterfront, playing loud music, setting off fireworks, and multiple other quality of life misconduct like drinking and urinating in the parks needs to be addressed," said Ferrante. "Surrounding communities like Jersey City and West New York are reporting the same conduct."
Last week, Jersey City launched their own Community Response Team to tackle the issue in neighborhoods citywide. As Jersey City begins to reevaluate its police budget, the Community Response Team will seemingly be tasked with tracking down and enforcing the prohibition of certain fireworks. While sparklers, smoke bombs and party poppers are legal in New Jersey, most aerial and concussion fireworks are not. CLICK HERE for more information.
"We are aware that fireworks are a big issue this year. I see posts of complaints on social media from various cities and states with the same issue," said Yousef J. Saleh, Jersey City Councilman Ward D. "That is not to say that we should not try to work on our issue here."
According to Ferrante, Hoboken is now taking similar measures.
"A high visibility deployment of police officers will be hitting the streets, supplementing our regular night patrols targeting the setting off of fireworks as well as other quality of life issues," said the Chief, "including the playing of loud music, revving car and motorcycle engines, and drinking in public. City Ordinance summonses for Disturbing the Peace will be issued. Fines for that ordinance usually cost in the area of $500."
Anyone observing groups setting off fireworks late at night is asked to contact the Hoboken Police Department at 201-420-2100, as the conduct is occurring.
In Jersey City, according to Councilman Saleh, "The best way to assist is to call with the exact location of the fireworks as they are happening. JCPD Non-Emergency Number (201) 547-5477."
In July 2019, JCPD were involved in the non-fatal shooting of two men at the Arlington Gardens Housing Complex. The men, aged 19 and 21, were allegedly firing Roman Candles—which officers mistook for firearms.
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