NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Police in Norfolk are cracking down on large groups who ride dirt bikes and ATVs. You might’ve seen them blocking roadways and stopping traffic.

A Norfolk police spokesperson says the department has seen an uptick in calls about the problem.

Police say the problem started in March 2021 and then started to fizzle out after the Criminal Intelligence Unit investigated. Now, the groups are popping up again and not just in Norfolk.

“They’re not like a regular, normal motorcycle group who will stay within their lane and all that. They’re all over the place,” said Nelson Smith of Virginia Beach.

Smith often spends his time at the Starbucks off of Burton Station Road and Northampton Blvd. in Virginia Beach. Smith says on more than one occasion he’s seen the groups cut through parking lots and drive down sidewalks. He began to notice the problem a year ago.

“I have seen them hold up traffic around there until the group gets together and then they head down towards where the outlets are,” Smith explained. He believes the groups hang out around Burton Station Road and the former Lake Wright Golf Course, riding between Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Norfolk police say some of the groups are from out of town and some are local.

“They might be in their early 20s some of them. Some of them are probably teenagers as well,” Smith stated.

After an uptick in service calls, the Norfolk Police Department is once again honing in. We also asked Virginia Beach police if they were seeing the same trends. As of Friday, we’re waiting to hear back.

“They’re a bunch of idiots. That’s the only way I can describe them and it’s dangerous and sooner or later either they’re going to get hurt or somebody else is going to get hurt,” Smith said.

After our initial report on the riders and what to do if you come across them, a member of one of the groups reached out asking to stay anonymous. He tells us not all riders are bad and most obey traffic laws. He also said that those who ride are more than just thugs on bikes and he says the groups bring people together.

Police want to remind you that it’s illegal to ride an all-terrain vehicle down a city street. If you notice it happening in your neighborhood, call police at 757-441-5610.

Check for the latest updates.