The Chainlink

So it looks like there are still bike thieves in the City of Chicago and that bike owners are still determined to make it easy for them. We had a modest increase (5%) in reports to the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry in 2013 after a whopping 42% increase from 2011 to 2012. The spreadsheet for the period of 2010 through 2013 is attached, but the numbers that stick out for me:

59% of thefts reported to the CSBR last year were of bikes which either weren’t locked (26.5%) or were locked with only some form of cable lock (32.6%).

Another 27.6% of reports to the CSBR were of bikes with a locking method identified as “Other.” The “Other” category has been a topic of discussion in past threads because this is sometimes an option selected by the victim and sometimes an option selected by the CSBR admins. Victims are asked to select "Other" when no lock was cut or broken to steal the bike, and admittedly, this fact is sometimes difficult to ascertain with any degree of certainty. The admin protocol is to make the change when the narrative makes it clear that a lock wasn't defeated to steal the bike. "Other" includes by way of example, bikes which were only locked to themselves (regardless of lock type); bikes which are locked only through the front wheel (regardless of lock type) and the bike is stolen by leaving the wheel locked to the rack and taking the rest; bikes which were locked (regardless of lock type) to a sucker pole, wooden or iron fence, and the object which it was locked to was obviously broken or defeated.

Only 4.4% of reports to the CSBR were of bikes locked to a bike rack with a newer U-Lock. It’s that easy to minimize your risk of being a theft victim.

Register your bike. Write down your serial number. Take a picture of your bike. Don’t lock your bike and leave it in a common area that other people can access. Don’t lock your bike with some form of cable lock as your only security device. Don’t lock your bike to a fence or a sucker pole. Don’t leave your unlocked bike in front of a store, on your back porch, in a garage or in a yard. Bike thieves can and do climb fences and stairs.

CSBR%202010-2013%20FINAL%201%2027%2014.pdf

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A few friends have lost bikes that were unlocked in a condo or apartment basement.

No doubt. These are most always common areas which are accessible to many, and which have external doors separate and apart from a residential living unit. 

Anne Alt said:

A few friends have lost bikes that were unlocked in a condo or apartment basement.

Thanks! 

Kevin C said:

I don't think so. I've never seen one.

Ryan Stahlman said:

Are there any accounts in the registry of bikes reported stolen from storage unit facilities? Like those indoor types used to store anything and protected with security cameras? 

Can someone remember to bump this before BTWW?  I want to share the information with my co-workers that will be rookies for this event.  Want to make their intro to commuting by bike a positive experience by not having to deal with a stolen bike!

I have a very hard time remembering tasks/events such as remembering to bump something in June. The trick I've been using lately - especially for stuff like this which is far out into the future is to create and event on a google calendar and include a reminder - or several reminders. (It is unfortunate that google tasks don't include the reminder functionality.)

in it to win it 8.0 mi said:

Can someone remember to bump this before BTWW?  I want to share the information with my co-workers that will be rookies for this event.  Want to make their intro to commuting by bike a positive experience by not having to deal with a stolen bike!

Thanks for tracking this.

Any info on the thickness of cable locks? I've always wondered how much more safe the thicker (1/2"-5/8") cable locks are, if at all. I've locked my alley-scrounged train station beater with a thick cable for years, but I wonder how much is attributable to bike vs. lock.

Beaters still get stolen. 

We have no information on the thickness of the cables employed in the 35% of stolen bikes which are reported to the CSBR each year. But that number alone should give you pause. I have not performed my own tests, but I have yet to see a cable lock securing a bike which looks safe or secure to me. I would estimate a thicker lock may, at best, take 3 or 4 seconds longer to defeat.

Colin Murphy said:

Thanks for tracking this.

Any info on the thickness of cable locks? I've always wondered how much more safe the thicker (1/2"-5/8") cable locks are, if at all. I've locked my alley-scrounged train station beater with a thick cable for years, but I wonder how much is attributable to bike vs. lock.

Many thanks to Kevin and Howard for the useful website, information, assessment, warnings, advice and analysis.  The Chicago Stolen Bike Registry is a local treasure.

1000%. I hope they know how appreciate they are. If it weren't for them and some others here I would NEVER have gotten my stolen bike back. (I know recovery is rare).

Lee Diamond said:

Many thanks to Kevin and Howard for the useful website, information, assessment, warnings, advice and analysis.  The Chicago Stolen Bike Registry is a local treasure.

Don't forget Justin & ThunderSnow.

Lee Diamond said:

Many thanks to Kevin and Howard for the useful website, information, assessment, warnings, advice and analysis.  The Chicago Stolen Bike Registry is a local treasure.

Kevin - thank you very much for the posting and thanks to everyone for the discussion. We were talking about this just last night and agreed there was nothing one could do to reduce the risk of bike theft. This data shows we were wrong and that a property-applied U-lock makes one's bike much safer from theft (one just has to remember to use it!).

16 thefts so far in January. 10 no locks. 5 cable locks. 1 u-lock.

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