NEW HAVEN — Police from seven greater New Haven towns announced they will be tackling the illegal dirt bike and ATV riding problem together and are looking for the public’s help.
The new crosstown collaboration will work to seize any illegal bikes and arrest unlawful riders.
New Haven, Branford, East Haven, West Haven, North Haven, North Branford and Hamden police departments are part of the initiative.
New Haven police say for years riders have continued to disregard rules of the road, causing dangerous pedestrian accidents or property damage.
Riders have been spotted in large groups down city streets, popping wheelies, blocking traffic, riding recklessly and sometimes taunting motorists and police.
“We started a way of doing business by photographing, preparing warrants, arresting, seizing property, and we are not going to stop. Today we speak with one voice that the borders between communities are invisible,” said New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman.
Smaller towns are also seeing problems that they can’t ignore.
In East Haven two weeks ago, an 18-year-old was arrested for recklessly driving an ATV. Police say he ran several people off the road.
“We’re a little community, and they’ve been, in my view, terrorists. They’ve really done a lot of heartache,” said East Haven Police Chief Brent Larrabee.
Chief Larrabee says his department has gotten wind of a large-scale group ride planned for Sunday somewhere in East Haven.
He says police will be on the lookout for illegal riders.
An undercover operation conducted by New Haven Police in 2013 resulted in the arrest of 18 bikers and seizure of 40 ATVs and dirt bikes during the three-month investigation.
Police in participating towns now have an anonymous tip line specifically to report illegal ATV and dirt bike riding. The number is 203-946-6098.