The Baltimore Police Department has long struggled with how to handle the city’s thriving dirt bike subculture.
As the documentary Twelve O’Clock Boys depicts, for some young people in the city, dirt bikes serve as a uniting force for young people without a lot of hope in their lives; on the other hand, the bikes are also dangerous to their riders–and to everyone else. It’s a culture that is, in the words of filmmaker Lotfy Nathan, “simultaneously wholesome and meaningful, but also reckless and destructive.”
The police department has had a difficult time figuring out how to crack down on illegal dirt bikers, particularly since chasing them is illegal. Commissioner Kevin Davis recently announced a task force to combat dirt bike groups, claiming that they have links to more sinister crimes, such as running guns and drugs. And now the department has announced a new tip line aimed specifically at dirt bikers.
The department has also started publishing a list of dirt bike violators, complete with bikers’ nicknames and photos of them doing wheelies. If the point is to publicly shame these people, they’re going to have to find some photos that look less badass.
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