Home Featured | Home Page Philly Police aim to squelch illegal dirt bikes and ATV riding

Philly Police aim to squelch illegal dirt bikes and ATV riding

“As usage of ATVs and dirt bikes increase in the warmer months, so must our efforts to enforce the law,” a police department sergeant, Eric Gripp, said in an emailed statement to the Star. “Our efforts to disrupt this type of activity are ongoing on a daily basis; we regularly conduct these types of initiatives all over the city, and will continue to do so.”

The Philadelphia Police Department announced on Tuesday that it conducted a citywide ATV/dirt bike interdiction and education initiative over the weekend. The initiative was designed to disrupt the operation of illegal ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets, seize the vehicles as permitted by law and educate communities on the illegality of operating such vehicles and the dangers such activity poses.

The initiative resulted in 63 vehicle confiscations, three arrests (for theft, unauthorized use of auto and fleeing police) and 60 Philadelphia City Code violations issued.

The use of illegal ATVs and dirt bikes had long been a complaint of residents in the River Wards areas, particularly Port Richmond. 

“They’re running rampant,” said Ken Paul, president of Port Richmond on Patrol and Civic (PROPAC). “I’ve had them go down in groups of 25 or 30 and there’s nothing [the police] can do.”

Paul said residents routinely complain about the dirt bikes and ATVs at nearly every PROPAC meeting.

“The neighbors are pissed,” he said. 

It’s unclear whether any of the confiscations, arrests or city code violations took place in Port Richmond or any area of the River Wards. 

“There was not a specific event (or a specific area) that predicated this most recent initiative,” said Philadelphia Police Department Sgt. Eric Gripp in an email to the Star. “[F]or tactical reasons, we can’t give specifics on the methodology employed in coordinating these types of operations.”

Gripp did admit, however, that “this weekend’s operations included [the] east division,” which the 24th district is a part of. 

“As usage of ATVs and dirt bikes increase in the warmer months, so must our efforts to enforce the law,” Gripp said. “Our efforts to disrupt this type of activity are ongoing on a daily basis; we regularly conduct these types of initiatives all over the city, and will continue to do so.”

“The operation of ATVs and dirt bikes on our streets is illegal, and poses a great danger to motorists, pedestrians and even the riders. It also creates a nuisance for our communities,” said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, adding, “As this initiative evidences, we are committed to proactively disrupting this activity on an ongoing basis.”

The Police Department encourages anyone who observes these types of vehicles operating on city streets, or who has knowledge of any planned group activity, to contact police. This can be done anonymously through the PPD Tip Line  at 215-686-TIPS or 215-686-8477.

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