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Why bike theft is so hard to stop

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Why bike theft is so hard to stop

Old 09-14-12, 08:27 AM
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northernlights
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Why bike theft is so hard to stop

September 2012

Many readers don't need statistics to know that bike theft is a big problem in cities, but the numbers do testify to the anecdotes. Streetsblog recently reported that bike theft is up 25 percent in New York. Transportation Alternatives has estimated that upwards of a million bikes get lifted annually (most aren't reported). The F.B.I. values stolen bicycles and their parts at $350 million a year. That's a lot of handlebar bells...(continued)

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/com...ard-stop/3274/
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Old 09-14-12, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by northernlights View Post
September 2012

Many readers don't need statistics to know that bike theft is a big problem in cities, but the numbers do testify to the anecdotes. Streetsblog recently reported that bike theft is up 25 percent in New York. Transportation Alternatives has estimated that upwards of a million bikes get lifted annually (most aren't reported). The F.B.I. values stolen bicycles and their parts at $350 million a year. That's a lot of handlebar bells...(continued)

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/com...ard-stop/3274/
Why don't we start a movement from another direction here? Instead of just getting a heavier lock and doing all the right things to keep our bikes from being taken, when looking for a used bike from any forum, ad, etc. why don't we insist on a receipt from the owner showing that they legally purchased the bike (and have the right to sell it). I would simply ask, "do you have a receipt for the bike's purchase and can you prove who you are?" "Can you give me a receipt for my purchase from you?" If I was selling a high-end bike I surely would have a receipt (if I was legit). It might take some time to get the word out to the theives, but after some time it might deter them. Save one bike that could be yours next time.

Last edited by Ridefreemc; 09-14-12 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 09-14-12, 09:53 AM
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I don't think asking for a receipt helps much. I no longer have receipts for any of my bikes (although they were all purchased legitimately, either used or new), but I'd have no problem printing one up if I had to. When buying a used bike I've checked with the local police to see if the serial or registration numbers were reported stolen - but without a nationwide registry I don't think this is effective either.
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Old 09-14-12, 10:27 AM
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The biggest prpblem is that most bike owners couldn't come up with a serial number to save their life. If you can't provide that info when reporting a crime, how can the police even identify something stolen if they trip across it?
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Old 09-14-12, 10:28 AM
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The problem isn't bike theft, but simply theft. A small percentage of any population feels they have a right to take property from others... Perhaps the solution is a self selecting eugenics program. You steal, you get caught, you die...
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Old 09-14-12, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
The problem isn't bike theft, but simply theft. A small percentage of any population feels they have a right to take property from others... Perhaps the solution is a self selecting eugenics program. You steal, you get caught, you die...
Well, if we prioritize things by amount of theft a given person is involved in it sounds like there's a lot of CEOs to be killed before we ever get to petty bike thieves.
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Old 09-14-12, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
The biggest prpblem is that most bike owners couldn't come up with a serial number to save their life. If you can't provide that info when reporting a crime, how can the police even identify something stolen if they trip across it?
Note to self- log the serial number before leaving the house again. Keep hardcopy in the lockbox and a 'cloud-based' one.
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Old 09-14-12, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Omiak View Post
Well, if we prioritize things by amount of theft a given person is involved in it sounds like there's a lot of CEOs to be killed before we ever get to petty bike thieves.
Why is there any need to prioritize? Theft is theft, and simple to prove. And executions are easy and cost effective means of punishment.
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Old 09-14-12, 11:39 AM
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Actually executions are extremely expensive due to the vast amounts of paperwork bureaucracy and legal maneuvering involved.
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Old 09-14-12, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Note to self- log the serial number before leaving the house again. Keep hardcopy in the lockbox and a 'cloud-based' one.
I have mine stored in my cellphone as fake 'contacts'. It's with me on all rides so I'd be able to include the number in a report immediately if my bike were stolen.
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Old 09-14-12, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Omiak View Post
Actually executions are extremely expensive due to the vast amounts of paperwork bureaucracy and legal maneuvering involved.
Like thefts, that is a fixable problem. Guilty verdict -> summary execution. Very simple, very cheap...
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Old 09-14-12, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I have mine stored in my cellphone as fake 'contacts'. It's with me on all rides so I'd be able to include the number in a report immediately if my bike were stolen.

That's a good idea!
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Old 09-14-12, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I have mine stored in my cellphone as fake 'contacts'. It's with me on all rides so I'd be able to include the number in a report immediately if my bike were stolen.

Going to do that right now! - and include a picture or two in my gallery.

Any more cool ideas?
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Old 09-14-12, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
Like thefts, that is a fixable problem. Guilty verdict -> summary execution. Very simple, very cheap...
Maybe in the Kingdom of Saud or Iran. We have a little thing called the Constitution here that prevents this kind of thing.
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Old 09-14-12, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
Maybe in the Kingdom of Saud or Iran. We have a little thing called the Constitution here that prevents this kind of thing.
The Constitution was in place when we hung horse thieves. It seemed to work fairly well.

Very inexpensive as well.
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Old 09-14-12, 02:32 PM
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I read an article in a magazine while waiting in a doctor’s office about capital punishment. It said that in China a person found guilty and sentenced to death did not even get to go back to his cell and the punishment was usually carried out within 30 minutes of the verdict. There are no automatic appeals in China like there are in the US. The article said that the main method of execution was to walk the condemned person outside and put the muzzle of a rifle against the back of their head and pull the trigger.

Seven men were caught and tried for piracy off the coast of China. They were found guilty. The men were taken out and made to get down on their knees in the street. While being televised a man walk up behind each man on his knees and put a pistol to his head and blew his brains out. No appeals court, no protesters against the death penalty. The article went on to say that China no longer has a piracy problem along their coast.

The United States has the largest prison population of any other nation in the entire world according to a statistic I recently heard. Our tax dollars are paying to feed and take care of all those people. I don’t want us to be like China but we do have a prison problem.

For all who want to execute bike thieves I have one question, what if it was your son or daughter that was caught stealing a bike?
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Old 09-14-12, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GrandaddyBiker View Post
For all who want to execute bike thieves I have one question, what if it was your son or daughter that was caught stealing a bike?
I would pull the trigger myself if given the opportunity.
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Old 09-14-12, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I don't think asking for a receipt helps much. I no longer have receipts for any of my bikes (although they were all purchased legitimately, either used or new), but I'd have no problem printing one up if I had to. When buying a used bike I've checked with the local police to see if the serial or registration numbers were reported stolen - but without a nationwide registry I don't think this is effective either.
yeah its better to have the serial number. I don't think a receipt by itself proves a whole lot. All it proves is that you bought a bike of the same make and model. It doesnt prove that particular bike is yours. But a serial number is more like a license plate so there's no mistaking it belongs to you.

I also like to write my first and last name on the handlebars, under the grips, with a sharpie pen. Its unlikely the thief will ever check under there. Or better yet use an electric engraver you can get from Harbor Freight for five bucks and engrave your name on the underside of the bike, under the grips, etc.

And locks are useless against any thief armed with a $30 bolt cutter that can be bought in any hardware store. There's no chain or U-lock big enough or strong enough that can stand up to a cheap $30 bolt cutter. it takes mere seconds to cut through them.

Last edited by northernlights; 09-14-12 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 09-14-12, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Ridefreemc View Post
Why don't we start a movement from another direction here? Instead of just getting a heavier lock and doing all the right things to keep our bikes from being taken, when looking for a used bike from any forum, ad, etc. why don't we insist on a receipt from the owner showing that they legally purchased the bike (and have the right to sell it). I would simply ask, "do you have a receipt for the bike's purchase and can you prove who you are?" "Can you give me a receipt for my purchase from you?" If I was selling a high-end bike I surely would have a receipt (if I was legit). It might take some time to get the word out to the theives, but after some time it might deter them. Save one bike that could be yours next time.
The problem is, 99% of bike thieves sell the bikes on pages like craiglist, and 99% of their audience is usually either uneducated about biking / really poor / fully aware the "great deal" is a stolen bike. So at no point in said transaction process would a receipt of any form of paper verification even enter the discussion.
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Old 09-14-12, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
I would pull the trigger myself if given the opportunity.
I am amazed that you are not embarrassed to make a statement like that on a forum where the whole world can read it.

So to you a bike thief deserves the same punishment as a murder. I don’t think any country in this world do that, not even China or any of the countries that live under Sharia Law.

Last edited by GrandaddyBiker; 09-14-12 at 05:00 PM. Reason: fixed spelling
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Old 09-14-12, 05:30 PM
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The police don't care. The price of scrap aluminum is high enough for the frames to disappear. This is the problems in my area.
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Old 09-14-12, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
The problem isn't bike theft, but simply theft. A small percentage of any population feels they have a right to take property from others... Perhaps the solution is a self selecting eugenics program. You steal, you get caught, you die...
its not realistic to expect the death penalty for bike thieves to ever happen. But I would definitely want to sharply increase the punishment. Say automatic 3 years for the first offense if no criminal record and no chance of parole. If they have a previous record for theft of any kind then make it at least 5 years with no possible parole.

It has to be a strong punishment to serve as deterrent or else they'll just get out and go back to stealing bikes again on the next day. Keeping them in prison for a long time also keeps them off the street so they cant steal any more bikes.
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Old 09-14-12, 05:46 PM
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Go old school, stocks.


Maybe, a rack as well.


Or maybe an expander up the anus.
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Old 09-14-12, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
I would pull the trigger myself if given the opportunity.
Bunch of extremists on this thread. Bike theft does not come close to deserving the death penalty. Three years in jail sounds pretty extreme too.
Stocks seem reasonable though.

Last edited by mrtidy; 09-14-12 at 05:47 PM. Reason: wanted to
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Old 09-14-12, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mrtidy View Post
Bunch of extremists on this thread. Bike theft does not come close to deserving the death penalty. Three years in jail sounds pretty extreme too.
Stocks seem reasonable though.
I like the stocks penalty too. It would not burden our already overcrowded jails. It would be a big humiliation and very uncomfortable even for a few hours. I think I read somewhere that people would throw rotten food at people in stocks.
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