The New York City Police Department launched a new initiative in their fight to get ATVs and dirt bikes off city streets on Thursday.
While described as a multi-layered approach, the initiative includes a program that will rely on public participation.
“Hopefully people understand that their assistance can be really helpful and they’ll be compensated at the same time,” said NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison.
Specifically, the NYPD wants New York City residents to help them locate where riders are storing the illegal vehicles.
In return, tipsters can get up to $100 for information that leads to the seizure of an illegal ATV or dirt bike.
Through the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, tipsters can anonymously report where these vehicles are located in their neighborhood.
Officials also announced that they will be seizing ATVs and dirt bikes, if found in certain locations.
“Enforcement will include confiscating these vehicles when they are in public housing complexes,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster.
“If the dirt bike is in the street, it is illegally parked. It’s an illegal bike and we can confiscate it,” said Harrison.
The NYPD provided details on their plan during a press conference held outside the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights on Thursday.
The 33rd Precinct’s commanding officer told the media that he gets complaints about ATVs and dirt bikes all day long.
“I get text messages at 2 or 3 in the morning,” said Deputy Inspector Charlie Bello.
Some elected officials have reached out to police as well.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer recently penned a letter that was addressed to both Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea about the use of ATVs and dirt bikes.
Included in the letter were some community suggestions on how to address the problem.
Harrison said that complaints have been coming from all five boroughs and go beyond people who are upset about the noise.
“This is what we see: illegal motorcycle riders driving recklessly, blocking traffic, going up on sidewalks and racing down New York City streets, causing danger to New Yorkers,” said Harrison.
In recent weeks, NY1 has documented the illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs from people living across the city.
On Thursday, NY1 further captured video of more than a dozen riders cruising 181st Street near St. Nicholas Avenue.
Some of the riders were operating the illegal vehicles without helmets.
Several others can be seen on video running red lights and popping wheelies.
NY1 also obtained video shot in Queens on Wednesday showing an ATV rider doing tricks after taking over the bike lane on one side of Queens Blvd. near Woodside.
While NY1 has encountered people in both Queens and Brooklyn who were consistently bothered by this behavior, there were some Washington Heights residents that didn’t think it was a problem.
Others said that while the riders were noisy and did bother them to some extent, they were skeptical about the NYPD’s new cash for tips program for ATVs and dirt bikes.
“I don’t know how I feel about turning anyone in for it,” said May Lynn Smith, a Washington Heights resident.
“I don’t think it’s necessary. I think it’s a little too much,” said Washington Heights resident Janae Carter, who felt there were other ways to address the problem without police involvement.
The NYPD encourages anyone who does have a tip about the location of an illegal ATV or dirt bike to contact their Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 (TIPS).