They’re in and out in a matter of seconds, which is why police in York say it’s so difficult to track, identify and patrol illegal dirt bikes roaming the streets.
“They’re putting themselves in danger, they’re creating chaos,” police Chief Troy Bankert said.
Bankert said a recent public service announcement has helped to bring new information to their email tipline, DirtBikeInfo@YorkCity.org, set up two years ago for reporting sightings of illegal dirt bikes.
So far, police have identified two main groups causing the problem.
“One in the west end and one in the east end of the city, and in each one of those groups there is a distinguished leader,” Bankert said.
The chief asks the public to report the who, what, when and where and, if possible, include a video or photo.
“The identification of them, whether they’re wearing a mask or not, we’re able to use facial recognition to do that, and we can do that sometimes from the photographs,” Bankert said.
The dirt bikes have been spotted across the city, from Farquhar Park to Fireside Road and even on King and Philadelphia streets.
Through photos and videos, police are able to create patterns and subsequently set up law enforcement operations that target a specific area.
The bikers haven’t been destructive or violent, police say, but what they are doing is disrupting traffic, causing fear, and simply breaking the law.
“They’re unregistered, they’re dangerous to themselves and they’re dangerous to other drivers on the roadway,” said Bankert.
The public is urged to call 911 whenever illegal dirt bikers are spotted and then follow up with a tip to DirtBikeInfo@YorkCity.org.
Bankert says too often, officers are unable to arrive at the scene of a sighting in enough time to witness the bikers, so they’re relying heavily on the eyes and ears of the public.
“They’re watching specifically for what I asked for, right, so they’re good observers for us,” Bankert said. “They’re trained observers now.”