Once known for its quality shoe and belt factories, we refer to nearby Brockton as the "City of Champions" because of boxing greats and native sons Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler. But as of recently, Brockton has surpassed Boston as the title-holder of fireworks complaints, after they have skyrocketed by 2,837 percent.

Last week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh reported an increase of 2,300 percent in complaints about very loud fireworks. Remember the classic Black Cat firecrackers we used to blow off? Today, they're addicted to head-splitting, ear-piercing thunderous explosions like flamingo bombs and artillery shell fireworks that have been exploding since Memorial Day and late into the night. And there hasn't been a letup.

People are losing sleep, children are waking up scared, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is being triggered in vets and animals are suffering from anxiety.

Last year in Brockton, police received eight complaints compared to 235 received this year, as of the end of May, and we're still a few weeks away from Independence Day.

So why the dramatic increase and earlier in the season, this year?

It could be tied to the murder of George Floyd on May 25 and a show of muscle to police departments. I have a feeling it's going to escalate, too. The other side of this issue is where the fireworks are coming from. Both Rhode Island and New Hampshire are enjoying a robust business, but with a very interesting twist: retailers there can't keep up with the ginormous sales of both fireworks and menthol cigarettes. It's like hitting the daily double, fireworks and menthol cigarettes in one place, not to mention the millions in lost revenue from our state and local coffers.

I know Beacon Hill will find it expedient to blame Newport or Salem, but that's just another one of their smoke screens.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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