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Why don't petty criminals commute by bike?

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Why don't petty criminals commute by bike?

Old 02-08-11, 01:05 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Why don't petty criminals commute by bike?

The other day I ran some errands on the way home ... having panniers is very convenient. But one of them took me through "a bad neighborhood."

I watched two guys (in a group of three) take off their jackets, and trade. They both put their hand in the same pocket, then took the coats off again, and traded again, so that they both had the ones they started in. This isn't something you see every day, especially when it's a hair under 40 F and raining. I was almost transfixed.

One of the guys yelled out "Hey! What are you looking at?" I told them I was catching my breath, that the hill I just climbed was rough. Then I thought about it, and added "Did you guys know bikes can go straight on red? Watch this!" and disappeared.

Honestly, I wonder why more petty criminals don't ride bikes in cities. They're agile, fast in traffic, unbelievably convenient, and even fly under police radar. Most people in this forum commute by bike because bikes are great, not because we can't afford a car. Why hasn't that greatness caught on? I'm not complaining, mind you ... but I'm curious.
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Old 02-08-11, 01:12 PM
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I don't like criminals. I wouldn't suggest anything to them except that they should stop.

And if I catch the criminal that stole my Brooks, they should expect more than a suggestion.
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Old 02-08-11, 01:34 PM
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How do you know petty criminals aren't riding bikes?
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Old 02-08-11, 01:43 PM
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Petty criminal are too busy selling it instead of riding the bikes. They cannot sell if they are using it.
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Old 02-08-11, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by buffalo_cody View Post
How do you know petty criminals aren't riding bikes?
Precisely
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Old 02-08-11, 01:56 PM
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It would be too hard to do the jacket switch on bicycles.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:16 PM
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I can't imagine a straight hand-off that would be more conspicuous than the jacket switch.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I can't imagine a straight hand-off that would be more conspicuous than the jacket switch.
Exactly, they are just begging to get busted.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I can't imagine a straight hand-off that would be more conspicuous than the jacket switch.
Normally, I would just have kept going on my way. But I saw them out of the corner of my eye, and wondered "What the hell are these guys doing?" It's cold, and they're taking their jackets off...

Originally Posted by buffalo_cody View Post
How do you know petty criminals aren't riding bikes?
Good point. None of these three seemed to have bikes, though. Then again it wasn't three geniuses, obviously. But if I was going to sell drugs, I think I'd want to always have a bike with me, to escape from the police, or other drug dealers, or customers who want to rob me, or whatever.

Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
Petty criminal are too busy selling it instead of riding the bikes. They cannot sell if they are using it.
But I'm sure they have to commute, too!
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Old 02-08-11, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I can't imagine a straight hand-off that would be more conspicuous than the jacket switch.
The point of the Jacket switch wasn't to be inconspicuous. The point is this way a police officer can't say he saw anything illegal. Any evidence obtained from a search inspired by seeing two people switch jackets would most likely be thrown out as the officer did not witness anything illegal. A hand off is more risky because the officer could claim to have seen the substance as it was handed off and there for would be justified in arresting and searching the two persons involved.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:44 PM
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Petty criminals do ride bikes! Some municipalities have passed ordinances just so police can easily stop people riding bikes in certain areas. I know this because I talked & had some training from a city lawyer who wrote one of these ordinances. Minor drug dealers were riding bikes & the ordinance helped police to easily stop them. The ordinance required front & rear lights (regardless of time of day) & an audible bell or horn that could be heard to a certain distance. The ordinance also prohibited riding on sidewalks. A violation of this ordinance was an arrestable offence. If an officer stopped someone they suspected of carrying drugs who was in violation of this offense, they would normally first ask for permission to search. If the person refused, they would be arrested & searched subsequent to the arrest. The ordinance worked very well & as far as I observed it was not abused. I rode through areas where the ordinance was used for that purpose on a road bike which did not meet the requirements & was never stopped. I wasn't hiding any contraband in my jersey or shorts!
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Old 02-08-11, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by daveF View Post
Petty criminals do ride bikes! Some municipalities have passed ordinances just so police can easily stop people riding bikes in certain areas. I know this because I talked & had some training from a city lawyer who wrote one of these ordinances. Minor drug dealers were riding bikes & the ordinance helped police to easily stop them. The ordinance required front & rear lights (regardless of time of day) & an audible bell or horn that could be heard to a certain distance. The ordinance also prohibited riding on sidewalks. A violation of this ordinance was an arrestable offence. If an officer stopped someone they suspected of carrying drugs who was in violation of this offense, they would normally first ask for permission to search. If the person refused, they would be arrested & searched subsequent to the arrest. The ordinance worked very well & as far as I observed it was not abused. I rode through areas where the ordinance was used for that purpose on a road bike which did not meet the requirements & was never stopped. I wasn't hiding any contraband in my jersey or shorts!
If I was a bike-riding drug dealer, I would be sure to dress like a fred around there. Or anywhere for that matter - it has to be less conspicuous.
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Old 02-08-11, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
If I was a bike-riding drug dealer, I would be sure to dress like a fred around there. Or anywhere for that matter - it has to be less conspicuous.
Most that were stopped were pretty Fredly looking. It was the people who looked like they were in a road race who were left alone.
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Old 02-08-11, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by daveF View Post
The ordinance worked very well & as far as I observed it was not abused. I rode through areas where the ordinance was used for that purpose on a road bike which did not meet the requirements & was never stopped. I wasn't hiding any contraband in my jersey or shorts!
That's what I was wondering/suspecting when I read your post about how the law works in your neck of the woods. When I ride somewhere I plan to lock my bike, or when I need to carry much, I take my CX bike with fenders and panniers and the like, but it's usually during the week, and it's also usually a path between home and work or a grocery store. On the weekends, I cover a hell of a lot more ground, and most of my rides take me through worse neighborhoods than I saw this drug deal in. All of this happens on a Cervelo ( RS - their fredliest model ), a carbon road bike. I have lights, but no reflectors, no bell, and clipless pedals with no reflectors ( although my shoes have them ). I wear wool instead of lycra, but the police still leave me alone when I run through empty intersections.

I wonder how much of it comes down to drop bars, at least when they ignore me? And I wonder if a reflective yellow jacket or a set of fenders and panniers would get you ignored riding through a neighborhood like this, too?
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Old 02-08-11, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by daveF View Post
Petty criminals do ride bikes! Some municipalities have passed ordinances just so police can easily stop people riding bikes in certain areas. I know this because I talked & had some training from a city lawyer who wrote one of these ordinances. Minor drug dealers were riding bikes & the ordinance helped police to easily stop them. The ordinance required front & rear lights (regardless of time of day) & an audible bell or horn that could be heard to a certain distance. The ordinance also prohibited riding on sidewalks. A violation of this ordinance was an arrestable offence. If an officer stopped someone they suspected of carrying drugs who was in violation of this offense, they would normally first ask for permission to search. If the person refused, they would be arrested & searched subsequent to the arrest. The ordinance worked very well & as far as I observed it was not abused. I rode through areas where the ordinance was used for that purpose on a road bike which did not meet the requirements & was never stopped. I wasn't hiding any contraband in my jersey or shorts!
I don't like this at all. The ordinance seems like nothing more than a backhanded way to violate peoples' rights.

Paul
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Old 02-08-11, 04:43 PM
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A year and a half ago, I was out riding on the Trinity Trails with my wife. We saw a couple of guys on mountain bikes carrying cases of railroad water near the local UP rail yard. It's easy to recognize because nobody but the railroad supplies water in cases of such small bottles. Later, we saw that they had even more stuff and they were checking out a construction site. I couldn't call the police without being obvious at that time, but I did pull out my phone and make the call a little later. I had a really difficult time explaining to the 911 operator exactly where these guys were. The nearest cross streets were a mile one way or 2 miles the other. After the call I lost track of where they went. They got off the trail near the baseball field north of downtown.
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Old 02-08-11, 05:10 PM
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Damn, they're on to me!

Seriously though, I thought Montreal bike messengers were notorious for being dope mules. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything...
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Old 02-08-11, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by paul2432 View Post
I don't like this at all. The ordinance seems like nothing more than a backhanded way to violate peoples' rights.

Paul
It helped put a lot of drug dealers in jail. I never saw anyone arrested who was innocent of everything except the ordinance.
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Old 02-08-11, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
That's what I was wondering/suspecting when I read your post about how the law works in your neck of the woods. When I ride somewhere I plan to lock my bike, or when I need to carry much, I take my CX bike with fenders and panniers and the like, but it's usually during the week, and it's also usually a path between home and work or a grocery store. On the weekends, I cover a hell of a lot more ground, and most of my rides take me through worse neighborhoods than I saw this drug deal in. All of this happens on a Cervelo ( RS - their fredliest model ), a carbon road bike. I have lights, but no reflectors, no bell, and clipless pedals with no reflectors ( although my shoes have them ). I wear wool instead of lycra, but the police still leave me alone when I run through empty intersections.

I wonder how much of it comes down to drop bars, at least when they ignore me? And I wonder if a reflective yellow jacket or a set of fenders and panniers would get you ignored riding through a neighborhood like this, too?
You would be ignored unless you hung out at the wrong intersection for too long!
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Old 02-08-11, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by math is fun View Post
The point of the Jacket switch wasn't to be inconspicuous. The point is this way a police officer can't say he saw anything illegal. Any evidence obtained from a search inspired by seeing two people switch jackets would most likely be thrown out as the officer did not witness anything illegal. A hand off is more risky because the officer could claim to have seen the substance as it was handed off and there for would be justified in arresting and searching the two persons involved.
Sounds pretty strained to me. Since they each had to pull the items out of the jacket to make the second switch, the cop could still claim to see the money and dope in their dumb ass hands.
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Old 02-08-11, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by daveF View Post
It helped put a lot of drug dealers in jail. I never saw anyone arrested who was innocent of everything except the ordinance.
Requiring motorist to wear red beanies might help catch criminals as well. So why no such law.

Passing laws for the express purpose of violating the fourth and fifth amendments is wrong.

Selective enforcement is also wrong.
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Old 02-08-11, 06:59 PM
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From my understanding, if you are dealing drugs, you probably do not go too far out of your neighborhood because you might be encroaching on another dealers territory.

I couldn't explain why more criminals do not use bikes, and it's something I never care to think about. I'd actually prefer the criminals to just stay on their corners or walking. It would cause me so many issues if more of those scumbags were on bikes. I get hassled enough and have been chased by dudes on bikes before, it sucks, and I would prefer it not become more common.
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Old 02-08-11, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by daveF View Post
It helped put a lot of drug dealers in jail. I never saw anyone arrested who was innocent of everything except the ordinance.
Since everybody that was stopped for violating the ordinance was a drug dealer and you were violating the ordinance does that mean you were a dealer that didn't get stoped?

Actually, if that ordinance is being enforced the way it sounds like, if one of those arrested could afford a good defense attorney instead of using an overworked public defender they could have a lot of fun with the way the ordinance is enforced.
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Old 02-08-11, 07:52 PM
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I always wondered where the idiotic bell requirement comes from, now I know. These kind of ordinances are generally used for racial profiling and are extremely problematic.
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Old 02-08-11, 07:53 PM
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Petty criminals operating in high crime areas don't ride bikes because the minute they lock up to "work", some other petty criminal is gonna jack their ride.
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