In Baltimore, Maryland, the local government has passed new laws allowing police officers to seize and later destroy any unlocked dirt bikes they find – be it in an alley, driveway, front yard, or street. An extreme yet necessary measure, police and citizens alike have depleted their capacity for tolerance and are ready to reclaim ownership of the streets. Baltimore has been battling the widespread use of illegal dirt bikes on public roads for a little more than a decade, but in recent years, the blatant disregard for both law enforcement and basic civil decorum has reached uncharted levels. In addition to several reports of bikers cornering motorists and pedestrians, groups of riders have been routinely spotted circling community areas like Lake Ashburton and Druid Hill Park, presumably “patrolling” their territory.
While it’s illegal to operate a dirt bike in the city, the sheer number of bikers have made it nearly impossible for police to enforce the laws – but Baltimore is not going down without a fight. Looking to utilize every advantage they have over the bikers, the Baltimore PD has even been known to deploy Foxtrot, their police helicopter. Patrolling from the skies, the aerial police monitor the streets for heavy gang activity and/or large concentrations of bikers and when they observe it, ground units are radioed with location information. For the most part, the dirt bikers have proved just as flighty as the pursuing authorities and are notorious for fleeing on foot when confronted by law enforcement. Acknowledging that the officer to bike ratio is too disproportionate to accommodate a lengthy foot pursuit for each individual street punk, the city’s new legislation shifts the focus from the criminal to his tool. Explained Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, “We’re not talking about filling jails full of dirt biker offenders. We’ll seize the bike, and it is game over.”