Apparently members of the mafia of the Italian city of Naples have threatened ambulance personnel to stop using the sirens, since the noise is too similar to that of the police sirens and interferes in the “business”. Or ‘La cosa nostra’, whatever you want to call it.
Naples ambulance drivers have started asking for police escorts, after numerous complaints from armed mafia teams threatening and even attacking ambulances for the use of sirens and light signals. Apparently, These emergency signals used by ambulances ‘annoy’ drug dealers and drive away customers, who often mistake them for the police. These cases have been reported for years, but the problems have recently intensified, due to the Covid-19 crisis.
A traumatized ambulance driver told Italian media that he was driving an ambulance with the siren on, when he found himself flanked by two men on a motorcycle, one of whom hit the ambulance window and threatened him of death. The distraught ambulance staff ended up calling the police, asking them to provide a safe escort out of the neighborhood in question.
“Didn’t they understand that they can’t use their siren here? Turn it off or we’ll shoot you”one of the gunmen allegedly told the ambulance driver.
Manuel Ruggiero, a 42-year-old emergency doctor and head of a local branch of an organization that fights against violence against medical professionals, confirmed that, indeed, there are neighborhoods in Naples where ambulances do not use their sirens and light signals for fear of reprisals from the mafia.
“We have already been ordered not to use the sirens in other neighborhoods, such as Sanità and Traiano, where the local ambulance turns on its siren only after leaving the area,” Ruggiero told local media.