WORCESTER, Mass. — The Fourth of July holiday is still weeks away, but in Worcester, the use of consumer fireworks already has residents rattled.
In recent weeks, the number of fireworks complaints from residents has skyrocketed, forcing Worcester officials to take action.
On Thursday night, city officials set up a fireworks anonymous tip line: (508)-799-1003. Residents can also send a text to 274637.
Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus told me on that very first night, the calls came flooding in.
“In the first night, we had over two hundred calls to that tipline,” Augustus said. “About sixty of them have names and addresses provided to us. So, police are trying to follow that up and sending out the message we are not tolerating this.”
The use of illegal fireworks has been blamed for numerous recent small fires throughout Worcester.
And on Sunday, authorities say, the use of illegal fireworks caused heavy damage to a Preston Street triple-decker that sent eleven people out into the streets.
Residents tell me, they’ve had enough.
Ana Aldulaini said, “It’s bad, every day we hear (them), and we can’t sleep in the night.”
James Smith told me, “Last night it was really bad. It went on for like 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Boom boom you know. Cant hardly hear the tv.”
In addition to the tipline, the Worcester Police Department is starting its annual Summer Impact Program weeks earlier.
The program sends 14 Worcester Police Officers on foot patrol into the city’s neighborhoods.
During the ten year program, City Manager Augustus tells me, the foot patrols have helped substantially lower violent crime rates.
It is hoped the extra police officers in the streets will also help cut down the number of illegal fireworks that have residents on edge.
“This is quality of life issue, a safety issue, for our community. And we are going to take it very seriously,” Augustus said.
© 2020 © 2020 Cox Media Group