From Amber Crain:
Chicagoans... a few months ago my boyfriend's bike was stolen from outside his downtown office in the loop despite being locked with a kryptonite u-lock. He got a new bike, the strongest u-lock available and a chain lock.
Last week, someone attempted to steal his bike again. Below is some video footage. The thief wore a yellow "official looking" public service coat while using an angle grinder with sparks flying. You see where security began questioning him, at which point he attempted to show a security badge, but then fled.
This is a notice to all Chicago bike riders as well as pedestrians. If you see this, say something!!!! This guy is a professional. Please share this post with your Chicago friends. Even if we can't ID him by sharing the post, we can drive awareness that this scenario isn't official - it's theft.
All this discussion of the benefits of licensing and/or registering your bike to deter theft seems to assume that the cops in this town would even be bothered to care about a property crime enough to pursue it. i've seen bikes at police auctions that clearly have registration stickers on them; nothing was done to check them.
You guys are unduly pessimistic. The point is that right now, ownership cannot be confirmed. The cops know it; the thieves know it. Once thieves have your bike, they own it! And no one can prove differently.
Sure registration stickers may be on bikes that are resold, but do you KNOW FOR SURE that 'nothing was done?' Maybe the registered owner no longer wanted that bike, and was too lazy to drive down and pick it up. Maybe the registered owner had moved, and no longer could be contacted. A bike licensing system, requiring annual renewals, would reduce those problems.
Lots of people give up biking entirely. The bike room in my condo building is stuffed with abandoned bikes that previous occupants forgot or didn't want to move...to the point that there is no room for new additions.
Too many "maybes." Uniform registration in a city the size of Chicago would be unworkable because the city's government would need to devote precious resources (Money, personnel, time & space) that they don't have or are disinclined to take from other areas.
Yes, lots of folks "give up biking entirely" for any number of reasons, and we cannot help that. Add to the mix any proposed registration fees, taxation, and maybe a helmet law and i'd predict even more folks wouldn't even bother with cycling.
"Unduly pessimistic?" No, just realistic and perhaps a little world-weary. Bikes get stolen. Cars get stolen. Houses & apartments get burglarised. Beyond taking a report for the victims' insurance claims, the police do sweet F#@k-All about most property crimes unless they get lucky enough to bust a fence.
Best defense against theft? A good lock, vigilance, and a decent insurance policy.