“About a month ago, maybe a little bit more, we made a promise to the community,” Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey said Tuesday. “We hear the calls. We hear New Yorkers, and we’re going to respond appropriately.”
Maddrey and fellow police officials stood inside the courtyard of the 52nd Precinct in the Bronx on a sweltering Aug. 2 with the purpose of fulfilling an oath. According to the chief, residents across the five boroughs have named riders of illegal bikes one of the city’s biggest quality of life problems.
Nearly 200 illegal dirt bikes, ATVs, and scooters lined the exterior of the police building. Some of these vehicles had been modified to allow for more riders while others appeared worse for wear, yet all were destined for one fate – the scrap heap.
“So, we put together some special training, we developed some new tactics and some new strategies. And for the last three weeks, we went out there and every week and we got better and better. And this week, I think it really culminated,” Maddrey said.
On Sunday, police reportedly undertook a special citywide operation that saw the removal of some 240 bikes across every borough on that single day. The most were removed from the Bronx, where 150 illegal dirt bikes and ATVs were taken off the streets.
For Assistant Chief Phil Rivera, operations such as these go even further than simply stopping noise pollution and dangerous driving, it can also help prevent more serious crimes.
“Quite often, these bikes are used in robberies and shootings. Just this past weekend, we had the Dominican Day Parade. We had an individual on one of these bikes who fired a shot in the air and attempted to get away but fortunately was stopped by police officers on the parade route,” Rivera said.
Police have said in the past that they do not chase the bikes to ensure the safety of all involved. While Maddrey is keeping tight-lipped regarding exactly how the bikes are being recovered so that riders are not tipped off to their methods, he did say they are caught by surprise.
The bikes at the 52nd Precinct stationhouse will eventually be crushed, and Maddrey assured the public more illegal vehicles are doomed to the same fate.
“We made a promise when we crushed bikes before and we’re gonna keep to that promise and we’re going to continue to remove bikes on the street and we’re going to continue to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers,” Maddrey said.