This past Sunday showcased two tragic examples of how serious of a detriment off-road vehicles and low-riders are to our community, and how stopping them must be encouraged as a top priority among law-enforcement which currently has had their hands tied by City Hall.
Sunday, May 2nd, at approximately 18:30 hours, a Boston Police Officer assigned to District B-2 received a call for a person struck at Pierpont and Glen Road, in the Franklin Park Zoo area of Dorchester. While en route to the location, the responding officer observed 75-100 off road vehicles, including dirt bikes and ATVs, doing wheelies and operating erratically at a high rate of speed driving down the roadway.
Upon arrival, Officer located the victim laying down on the ground, holding his right hand which appeared to be bleeding profusely. When asked about the incident, the victim couldn’t give a description of the other person – just that he was riding his bicycle when a dirt bike hit him. Boston EMS responded to the scene and transported the victim to a local area hospital for further evaluation. No arrests have been made and no further information is available at this time.
Not even an hour later, at approximately 19:20 hours, a Boston Police Officer assigned to District B-3, responded to a radio call for a person shot at 70 Talbot Avenue, in Dorchester. Earlier throughout the night, prior to this call for a person shot, Boston Police had received numerous disturbance calls for a large number of double parked vehicle, dirt bikes, and ATVs lining Talbot Avenue.
As seen in the official Boston Police report above, between the collective of hundreds of vehicles, dirt bikes, and ATVs, Boston EMS as well as Officers were unable to quickly reach the victim who was desperately in need of medical attention and help. After working their way through the chaos of vehicles, they located a female victim suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to her upper back/shoulder at the corner of Talbot Avenue and Wales Street in Harambee Park. The victim was responsive and told officers that she was also pregnant. Boston EMS who also had major delays due to the low-riders and dirt bikes finally were able to transport the victim to a local area hospital where she, as well as her child, were deemed stable after sustaining a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
Neither the victim nor any other witnesses were able to provide suspect descriptions; however, one witness did report that she was not the intended target of the gunfire, and instead was unfortunately hit in the crossfire between two groups shooting at one another. Officers canvassed the area and Detectives from District B-3 were called in to photograph the scene and process ballistic evidence. No arrests have been made and no further information is available.
These two incidents are the latest in a long history of problems surrounding large groups of off-road vehicles and packs of low-riders who frequent the Franklin Park Area. In a single seven month period, Boston Police reported motorized scooters and mopeds were present in nearly 300 incident reports including those for robberies and shootings. Back in 2018, a group of 25-35 individuals dangerously and illegally drove off-road vehicles on I-93 South near South Bay Shopping Center leading to one shot and seven arrested. Last August, a man was fatally shot in close proximity to the park’s entrance, and bullets were fired off just the other week at Moakley Park. The violence surrounding groups of off-road vehicles, coupled with the general increase in violence in the neighborhood’s parks, make for a clear picture of a where change is needed.
The Police Department’s policy is to not chase illegal dirt bikes or ATV riders out of safety concerns for the driver or someone else as a result of a pursuit; however, the city encourages residents to report sightings to the police because they threaten the safety and quality of life of the community. Based on these two most recent events, it is clear that this is not enough. A virtual community meeting is being held May 4th to allow elected officials, stakeholders, and community members to field their concerns and start working toward a potential strategy or solution to this ongoing problem. Given the current political climate and stigma toward law enforcement, it will be interesting to see the chosen approach of both community and city officials alike.
Anyone with information relative to the illegal operation or storage of these recreational vehicles who wish to assist in these ongoing investigations anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1 (800) 494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).