In this monthly column, Northside Public Safety Council President David Stacy shares public safety news for Pittsburgh’s Northside.

By David Stacy

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Training via Wikimedia Commons

Fireworks are legal in Pittsburgh. As of October of 2017, Pennsylvania legalized “Class C” or “Consumer Grade” legal fireworks that include firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material. M-80s, M-100s, and cherry bombs are illegal.       

We’ve heard of many complaints about fireworks going off in our Northside neighborhoods beginning late evening into the morning hours and they have become an annoyance and a grievance for many of us that have jobs, children, and pets. The Zone 1 Police Department suggests for you to call 911 when you hear them going off in your neighborhood and if you can, try to determine what direction they are coming from when reporting them to the 911 dispatcher. The police department is monitoring and keeping track of the hot spots in the Northside neighborhoods, although note that when officers answer a call and the fireworks have already been ignited, it’s virtually impossible for them to determine who actually lit them. However, if they answer a call and find someone with more fireworks that have not been ignited they then have the legal right to go through their fireworks and confiscate ones that are deemed illegal. The ShotSpotter does differentiate between gun shots fired and fireworks.                                              

This seems to be a trend happening around our country in different cities with all similarities, starting at the beginning of June in the late evening into the morning hours and is terrifying our pets, dogs especially, as their ears are so sensitive. New York City had as many of 12,500 911 calls on fireworks in the first 20 days of June.                                                           

What can you do? Call 911 as first stated, talk with your fellow neighbors, and try to determine what part of your neighborhood they are being ignited in. Much of the time, you can see the leftovers of where they were left off, this way you can work collectively with your neighbors.You can also refer to any surveillance cameras in your neighborhood that may be able to pick up the culprits.

Also note that sparklers are a top reason for visiting the emergency room.                                                  

The North Side Public Safety Council (NSPSC) meeting will be canceled for the month of July due to the COVID-19 pandemic because social distancing in a closed area can be a bit challenging to keep everyone safe from this virus. As always, please look after one another, especially those that are elderly, disabled, or less fortunate. 

The Zone 1 Police Department’s May 2020 crime statistics for the Northside are now available and can be downloaded below.

David Stacy is the president of NSPSC. Reach him and NSPSC with your questions or concerns by email at or by phone at 412-321-0295.   

Related posts:

Northside Public Safety Bulletin: June 2020

Northside Public Safety Bulletin: May 2020

Northside Public Safety Bulletin: April 2020

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