The mangled metal is the sound of justice for the thousands of New Yorkers plagued by the noise and reckless driving of groups of people weaving through city streets on illegal dirt bikes and ATVS this summer.
“Anyone out there has an illegal dirt bike, don’t even think about it. Because NYPD will find it and will crush it. It’s as simple as that,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Dozens of vehicles were crushed at a Department of Sanitation facility on Staten Island Thursday, just a small sample of the nearly 1,000 vehicles already confiscated and crushed this year. Police officials say that’s up from the 500 seized and destroyed last year. By the end of 2021, police expect to crush close to 3,000 vehicles.
Officials say it’s a dangerous trend fueled by social media.
“It seems more of a culture thing. With social media and bragging points and taking videos of people, it seems that’s what really fueling this thing to do it because everyone wants to out do the next person, with the ability to pull a wheelie for a mile,” said Robert Martinez, deputy commissioner of the NYPD’s Support Services Bureau.
NYPD officials say about 80% of the bikes go unclaimed once they’re confiscated because many of them are stolen. Police say if the owner can provide a bill of sale, the bike will be returned. But if not, it’s likely its going to end up crushed.
However, the vehicle will have to be towed out of the impound lot because it’s not legal to drive on city streets.
“They really have their hands full with the volume of vehicles coming in,” Martinez said.
Police officials said the vehicles are also connected to the uptick in gun violence.
“A lot of the shootings and crime and the violence in the city is connected, has been connected to scooters and dirt bikes,” Martinez said.
The City Council is pushing a bill that will raise the fines by 50% for a first offense, to $750, and $1,500 for all offenses after it. If passed, it will be named Jonathan’s Law, after a four year-old boy who was critically injured after being hit by a man driving an illegal dirt bike in Queens earlier this summer.