Light fireworks anywhere in the confines of the 61st Precinct this July 4 and you’re the one going to be popped.
That’s the promise police made this week as they take steps to have one of the quietest Independence Days on record.
“Every year you have people getting injured [from using illegal fireworks],” Captain George Mastrokostas, the commanding officer of the 61st Precinct said this week. “They’re not toys and they should be left up to the professionals.”
The precinct’s anti-firework campaign was outlined to members of the 61st Precinct Community Council before the civic group disbanded for the summer vacation.
Mastrokostas explained that anyone who sees someone lighting fireworks should call 911 immediately. If they know of someone selling fireworks or warehousing them in their home, they should call 311.
Anyone caught either using any type of firework or selling them will be arrested. If someone is found selling fireworks from the back of their store, that store can be shut down.
“If you’re caught selling fireworks from your car, then your car can be taken away from you,” Mastrokostas added.
Those who know someone storing fireworks can receive up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to that person’s arrest and conviction.
Mastrokostas said that he and his officers will be out “in full force” looking to rid the streets of illegal fireworks this year.
“We’ll be out in uniform and plainclothes,” he explained, adding that illegal 4th of July “poppers” will never see the officers coming.
Last year, Mastrokostas managed to get an NYPD SkyWatch %u2013 an elevated post that has the ability to observe criminal activity for several blocks in every direction %u2013 in Gerritsen Beach to curb the use of illegal fireworks there.
He said that the SkyWatch was so successful that he was taking steps to bring it back this year.
His officers are also visiting all of the residents arrested and summonsed for illegal fireworks last year, putting them on notice that the NYPD will be keeping an eye out for them this year.
“If you were arrested last year and this year a cop comes to the door to give you a warning, chances are you’re not going to do it again,” Mastrokostas said.
The 61st Precinct protects residents in Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Homecrest, Gerritsen Beach and parts of Midwood.