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Police stepping up efforts to get illegal vehicles off Cincinnati roads

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 18:31:18-04

Cincinnatians in many neighborhoods are familiar with a sound that comes around every summer: The roar of a dirt bike or quad revving its engine.

Cincinnati police announced Wednesday they're focusing on getting those vehicles off the streets. Although the issue isn't restricted to one part of the city, District 5 police are leading the effort by focusing on the Clifton, CUF and College Hill area.

"I hear them a lot, but mostly around 6:00 p.m.," said Brittney Miller, a student at the University of Cincinnati.

These types of vehicles are not legal on the city streets because they can't be registered and titled with the state. That, alongside complaints from neighbors about people driving recklessly on them, has led to CPD increasing enforcement.

Police showed body camera footage depicting an incident in Clifton near the University of Cincinnati. In the video, a man drives a quad down crowded sidewalks before flipping it.

"You can just see the reckless or the disregard, or lack of regard," said District 5 Capt. Craig Gregoire.

Gregoire said CPD has been working to get the illegal vehicles off the streets, relying on surveillance videos and undercover officers to track and seize them.

"So when the community says, 'Hey, the cops aren't doing anything,' more than likely you don't know whether we're there or not because we're not in uniform," he said. "We're undercover wearing normal clothes and we're monitoring and watching and connecting these videos together."

Since September, the district has seized 13 vehicles. Gregoire expects that number to go up because more people are going out this summer.

Ethan Littleton, a Clifton resident, said the vehicles don't bother him much but he understands the concern.

"You can't trust people not to do dumb things," he said. "In a normal vehicle, your options for doing ridiculous stunts are limited."

Brittney Miller, the UC student, said she believes the cars on the roads drive more recklessly and disagrees that getting the illegal vehicles off the road is an issue.

"I honestly don't think they're that big of an issue," said Miller. "They're out here trying to have some fun."

The statute of limitations for many violations connected to driving illegal vehicles on city streets is about two years, according to Gregoire, so people who aren't caught when it happens may still be charged down the line.