Bridesburg residents held a town hall meeting on Wednesday, May 18, at the Bridesburg Recreation Center in regard to “boom parties” that continue to take place in the area.
The meeting was attended by dozens of Bridesburg residents, state Rep. Joe Hohenstein and representatives from the Philly Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, the Game Commission and the office of Rep. Mike Driscoll.
Residents expressed their frustration with the continued presence of “boom parties,” which have been an issue in both the River Wards and neighboring South Jersey area for the better part of the last five years. The gatherings, which often take place late at night on either undeveloped land or in large parking lots, feature loud music, dirt bikes and ATVs producing sounds that can be heard all throughout the area. Most recently, gatherings have been held on Tioga Street and in the parking lot of the Dietz & Watson factory on Tacony Street.
Insisting that not enough has been done in regard to the gatherings, residents urged local leaders to increase their efforts to both prevent them from occurring and enforce stricter penalties on the individuals who still continue to gather.
“Five years in, we shouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation,” said one resident.
Capt. Jose Medina of the 15th district said that his department is constantly working to determine where and when gatherings are being held in order to prevent them from actually occurring. Additionally, although PPD is not permitted by policy to initiate stops and arrests with dirtbike and ATV riders, Medina did encourage residents to contact PPD if they observe where the bikes are being stored so that officers can confiscate them.
“You get us that information, we do have a task force on weekends that go out and they recover these dirt bikes and ATVs,” Medina said. “That does happen. If you have that information, I encourage you to bring that forward.”
Inspector Frank Bachmayer, the commanding officer of the PPD’s Northeast Division, added that the department does have specific procedures in place so that these incidents can be taken care of in a safe manner, especially given the large number of people who gather at such events.
“We’re going to be aggressive, as best we can, to prevent and/or apprehend the individuals on bikes,” Bachmayer said. “I don’t want anybody here to think that we’re just reacting. We have plans in place, followed by our policies, to keep us safe, and keep everybody safe.”
Above all, Medina urged residents to stay vigilant and continue to contact PPD whenever issues relating to the loud noises and motorbike activity occur.
“The best thing that you can do for me is to be a very good witness for me,” Medina said. “I have 200 officers and 22 supervisors, multiply that by two, and that’s how many eyes I got on the street right now. But all of you can contribute to my cause by being a very good witness.”