NYPD to remove illegal vehicles from city streets as summer arrives


Border Patrol Agent Patrols South Texas Border on ATVs | Photo by Donna Burton via Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK – The New York Police Department (NYPD) will help remove illegal motorized scooters, mopeds, bikes, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and other unregistered vehicles from city streets as warmer weather months arrive as part of its summer enforcement strategy. Typically, the NYPD sees an uptick in crime patterns involving illegal vehicles during summer.

According to NYPD, in 2023, they confiscated 18,430 illegal and unregistered motorized scooters, bikes, and ATVs — the highest number in city history — representing a 128 percent increase from 2022. This year, the NYPD has removed more than 13,000 illegal two-wheeled vehicles and ATVs, bringing the total number to nearly 42,000 since the Adams administration came into office. The 42,000 figure represents the most significant number of illegal moped and scooter seizures in 30 months in New York City history.

“When it comes to protecting public safety, this administration is crushing it and that includes our efforts to crack down on the ongoing issue of illegal mopeds and scooters on our streets and sidewalks,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “Mopeds and scooters are not only endangering pedestrians when they are driven recklessly, but we have also seen an exponential increase in criminals using them to ride around and snatch property from New Yorkers.”

Adams reiterated that everyone who drives these vehicles will face the consequences, including the vehicles they use. “No one is above the law,” Adams said.

Since 2022, crime patterns for street robberies and grand thefts involving illegal scooters and mopeds have steadily increased. In the first five months of 2022, the NYPD tracked ten total robbery patterns, made up of 44 complaints involving these types of unregistered vehicles. Over those same five months in 2023, the number of robbery patterns increased to 22, while the number of complaints jumped to 104.

Through just the first five months of 2024, the NYPD has already identified 79 robbery patterns (almost eight times the figure in the same period in 2022), with more than 415 complaints (nearly ten times the figure in the same period in 2022).

While overall index crime across New York City dropped another 2.4 percent in May 2024, compared to the same month last year, robberies and felony assaults experienced increases in May, primarily fueled by offenders fleeing crime scenes on illegal, unregistered motorized scooters, bikes, or other vehicles.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban is taking this issue seriously, as evidenced by the thousands of illegal vehicles the NYPD has seized this year.

“We will continue to listen to concerned New Yorkers who correctly demand that these hazards be removed from their neighborhoods,” the commissioner said. “We will keep working closely with City Hall, the city’s Department of Transportation, and all the people we serve to keep our roadways safe.”

Scooters and similar modes of transportation enable criminals to commit offenses quickly — often physically assaulting a victim in the process — without ever getting out of their vehicles or simply by temporarily dismounting while a second individual stays seated. In both instances, mopeds and scooters facilitate a fast escape.

NYPD has strategically deployed Public Safety Teams to the locations and times at which crimes are most likely to occur. Investigators will also be working in such areas to uncover any criminal networks that are enabling offenders.

The NYPD’s enhanced summer enforcement strategy includes intensifying efforts to curb the illegal use of motorized scooters, bikes, ATVs, and other unregistered vehicles on city highways and streets through the strategic redeployment of Community Response Team (CRT) officers to focus on removing these illegal vehicles. NYPD officers will also increase the use of strategic checkpoints staged at bridges, tunnels, and other major roadways and crossings across the five boroughs.

The Adams administration has also advocated for state legislation in Albany to help crack down on the proliferation of illegal and unregistered vehicles on city streets. This critical legislation (S7703/A8450) would close the “moped loophole” by requiring registration and licensing for these vehicles at the point of sale, helping stem the tide of new unlicensed mopeds on the street and holding sellers accountable.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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