DETROIT-The Detroit Police Department is leading an initiative by warning ATV drivers and dirt bike riders to keep such vehicles away from the city’s streets or they can get seized by police and the driver can face arrest.
The department’s announcement is part of a full scale operation that would directly tackle increased violence and reckless driving on city streets as Michigan rings in the Summer season.
“What they may deem as fun is actually breaking the law. It is not only placing themselves but other people at risk of injury,” DPD Captain Derick Griffin said. “Your freedom stops where the next person’s begins, so they have to be mindful of that. We want them to have fun, but do it in the designated area. Those are off-road vehicles specially titled for those reasons.”
Police say ATV drivers and dirt bikes are not outfitted to be on Michigan roads. They don’t have license plates and other aspects render them not road-worthy.
In April, the department announced $250 cash rewards for tips that result in the confiscation of illegal ATVs or other off-road vehicles being used on Detroit’s roads. The department said it has already received several tips since the ATV reward program was announced.
ATV use is not permitted on roads, streets or highways in Wayne County, according to a legislative policy report submitted to Detroit City Council last year. The state of Michigan allows some counties in northern Michigan to authorize ATV use on their roads, but Wayne County is not included.
Illegal ATV use has troubled Detroit law enforcement for years, with the Police Department ramping up efforts to confiscate the off-road vehicles. DPD swept up more than 30 ATVs in a bust last year and is eyeing to surpass that this year. The department does not have data on how many ATV’s it has seized so far.
Detroit police Chief James White has highlighted the department’s efforts to rid the roads of the illegal vehicles as an element of the department’s plan for curbing crime this summer overall.
The police chief unveiled a 12-point plan to combat violence in mid-April, after a string of shootings in downtown Detroit, In addition to the ATV crackdown, the 12-point plan includes using “Casper Units” — undercover officers who hide in crowds looking for arguments that could escalate — along with closing some streets, enforcing noise, open-alcohol and curfew ordinances, and increasing deployment, including adding more “eyes in the sky” with helicopter patrols and officers on rooftops.
As part of this year’s plan, the department has incorporated its “midsummer” deployment of additional officers, and will expand the department’s Eagle Eye Hotline program, where technicians in the Real Time Crime Center share information with businesses stemming from cameras mounted on towers in Greektown. The department would also establish a hotline for activity that occurs inside businesses and is not captured by Eagle Eye.
In recent months there has also been a visible increase in minors in the streets, whether driving recklessly on the roads or behaving unruly in public places.
Police will step up enforcement of the city’s curfew for minors. The curfew is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for anyone age 15 or younger, and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. for anyone 16 or 17 years old. Curfew violators will be taken to the 4th Precinct at 4700 W. Fort in southwest Detroit.
Under Michigan law, individuals must be at least 10 years old to operate a four-wheel off-road vehicle unless they are on private land or are performing farm work. If ATV drivers are under the age of 16, they must obtain a certificate in order to operate the vehicle and adult supervision is required. No one under the age of 16 is allowed to operate an off-road vehicle with three wheels.
Anyone who would like to report activity involving illegal ATVs or guns can call Crime Stoppers or submit a tip through the city’s website at detroitrewards.tv.
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