More than 30 ATVs and dirt bikes seized by the City of Hartford were destroyed at Corona's Auto Parts on Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Luke Bronin was on hand to "crush," some of the recreational vehicles and to send a message to residents of the city.
"If you're riding an ATV or a dirt bike - don't even think about it. We don't want ATVs and dirt bikes tearing down our streets, tearing through our parks," Mayor Bronin said.
According to Bronin, the vehicles are one of the top quality of life complaints in the capital city.
"It's the noise and the danger that these loud, reckless ATVs and dirt bikes pose throughout our neighborhoods, especially when they're in our parks."
Mayor Bronin said the vehicles crushed on Tuesday consisted of 13 ATVs and 18 dirt bikes.
They were all seized over the past few years and have gone through the judicial process, however, Hartford Police have seized more than 30 additional vehicles off the streets over the last three weeks.
"If you're illegally riding one of these vehicles in Hartford - this is what you should expect is going to happen to your vehicle," Mayor Bronin said.
Mayor Bronin said any ATVs or dirt bikes that were seized and turned out to be stolen were returned to their rightful owners rather than destroyed.
According to Hartford Police Lt. Paul Cicero, officers in the Hartford Police Department have been tasked with getting these types of vehicles off the streets.
"We cannot have this kind of activity in our streets. Not only is it unlawful, it's reckless and it's dangerous. This past week, one of the individuals who was operating one of these vehicles was a felon wanted in a shooting. Another person had a firearm," Lt. Cicero said.
Lt. Cicero said after talks with Mayor Bronin and city officials, they decided this was the best course of action to "send a strong message."
"These vehicles belong in rural areas. That's why they were created. The City of Hartford is not a rural area."
Mayor Bronin also gave a brief update on COVID-19 cases in the city. He said there has been a slight decrease in the rate of new hospitalizations.
"That's obviously good news. We're still going to be very cautious before drawing any conclusions from it," Mayor Bronin said. "We know that the reason the curve has begun to flatten… it's because of the work everyone is doing to respect social distancing requirements, to work together by staying apart, to wear your mask, to wash your hands - all of those things matter."
Mayor Bronin said it will still be a "long and slow road to reopening." He said he knows many feel anxious to return to normal.
"The reality is, that return is going to be gradual. It's going to be incremental. It's going to be two steps forward and one step back," said Mayor Bronin.
The bikes crushed were seized throughout the last year. Lt. Cicero says the bikes were modified or had manipulated VIN numbers making them difficult to auction or transport in their current state. They also wanted to avoid the potential of the same bikes being recycled back onto city streets.