Mafia members in the Italian city of Naples have reportedly threatened ambulance crews to stop using sirens as, the noise is too similar to that of police sirens, and interferes with âbusinessâ.
Ambulance drivers and first responders in Naples have recently started asking for police escorts, after numerous reports of armed mafia crews threatening and even assaulting ambulances, over their use of sirens and light signals. Apparently, these emergency signals used by ambulances are very bad for business, as they disturb drug-pushers and scare away customers, both of which often mistake them for police. Such cases have been reported for years, but the problems has intensified recently, due to the Covid-19 crisis.
âHavenât you understood you cannot use your siren here? Turn it off or weâll shoot you,â one of the armed men allegedly told the ambulance driver.
Manuel Ruggiero, a 42-year-old emergency doctor and the head of a local branch of an organization fighting violence against medical professionals, confirmed that there are indeed neighborhoods in Naples where the ambulances donât use their sirens and light signals for fear of mafia retaliation.
âWe have already been ordered not to use sirens in other neighborhoods, including SanitĂ and Traiano, where the locally based ambulance turns on its siren only after it leaves the area,â Ruggiero said.
Local politicians have asked the Government to make the fight againstÂ the mafiaÂ a national priority, and called for more protection measures for ambulance drivers and first responders.
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