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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bike Thefts Rise

posted by on October 26 at 13:14 PM

As of the end of September, Seattle bike thefts are up by 28 percent in the East Precinct and 34 percent in the West Precinct over the same period last year, according to new Seattle Police stats. Capt. Landy Black of East Precinct, which includes Capitol Hill and the Central Area, theorizes the blip has something to do with the nice weather. The real numbers are not so outlandish: in the East Precinct, 134 bikes were stolen this year compared to 104 during the same period last year. City wide, bike thefts rose just 6.6 percent, and theft in general is down, as of August, by about 18 percent. I’m not saying this is the solution.

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But, one question I have is:

Is this a rise in bike thefts while the number of bike riders remains the same?

Or is it that Seattle is growing, more people are riding bikes, and we're reporting bike thefts?

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 26, 2006 1:20 PM

There are other bike related thefts as well. I was walking to the IMA building on UW campus one day about a week ago and saw several bikes at the nearby racks missing seats, with others whose seats were up high or partially pulled out. And often, the only bike theft reports are of actual bikes, not of accessories and peripherals.

I'd normally go with your point, Will, but it looks like thieving in itself has proliferated.

Posted by Gomez | October 26, 2006 1:29 PM

Has George Allen been in town recently?

Posted by Gabriel | October 26, 2006 1:33 PM


I'm not sure about every instance, but I think in a lot of cases bike owners pull the seats to make the bikes less attractive to thieves.

Posted by COMTE | October 26, 2006 1:35 PM

It only takes a handful of people to get their bike thieving routine down well, and apparently the hill has a few that have. People that do this, do this every day, it's their "deal". I think only a small percentage of these thefts are simple crimes of opportunity.

When/if they're caught, numbers will go down a bit, then back up when said thieves are back at it or some newcomers master their trade.

The good news is that a racket of pro bike thieves is just another step in becoming a World Class City Seattle, way to go!

Posted by Dougsf | October 26, 2006 2:52 PM

P.S. It is suprising, however, that with all the bicyclist that dress up as Spiderman for their commute, there seems to be very little crime fighting actually taking place.

Posted by Dougsf | October 26, 2006 2:55 PM

I don't recall it (removing the seat to deter thieving) being such a common practice in general, Comte.

We're talking half the bikes at a university rack, and UW kids aren't always the savviest of bike riders, many not nearly savvy enough to pull the seat off to divert thieves. Many of these bikes were even cable locked by the frame!

Posted by Gomez | October 26, 2006 3:29 PM

Comte, while that is a possible strategy to deter bike thieves, a sage thief espying an expensive but seatless bike would simply steal the bike and later steal a seat from another bike.

Posted by him | October 26, 2006 5:27 PM

Actually, bike stealing at the UW has always been a problem.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 26, 2006 5:36 PM

But this _is_ why I skateboard to campus instead of bike ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 26, 2006 5:38 PM

I'm skeptical that such small fluctuations in such a small amount of data over such a short period indicates anything more than normal variation. What's a graph of the last 25 years look like?

Posted by Fnarf | October 26, 2006 5:51 PM

Could it be due to this?

Posted by Jonah | October 27, 2006 2:20 AM

Sure, Fnarf, because NOTHING about society and theft has changed between 1981 and today.

Posted by Gomez | October 27, 2006 9:46 AM

We need less bikes in Seattle. They get in the way of all the single-occupant commuters who enjoy sitting in traffic.

Posted by * | October 27, 2006 10:51 AM

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