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Very little has changed year over year, so I'm going to recycle much of the text from the 2013 Year in Review.

For 2014, we had a 2% decline in reports to the CSBR (2013-1136 thefts; 2014-1011 thefts). There are a lot of factors at work on our gross numbers, and I don't draw any conclusions about an actual increase or decrease in theft rates. Bike Index has a function for reporting thefts now and there's a Facebook page called "Find Stolen Bikes" which is pretty active. Some of the CSBR reports are dual listed, but some are not, so it would appear that some of the CSBR volume is being siphoned off.

I do draw conclusions about rates of types of thefts however, and it would appear that victims aren't getting any better at securing their property and in some instances are getting worse. For the first time since I started tracking these statistics (2010) more than 60% of the CSBR theft reports were of bikes that either weren't locked or were locked with only a cable lock (60.34%).

Only 6.43% of reported to the CSBR were of bikes which were locked with a Newer U-Lock with a flat key to a Bike Rack.

Recovery rates for stolen bikes remains abysmal. In 2014, it was a little over 3%.

Here's 2013's report for comparison purposes:

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.

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Thank you for compiling and posting this, Kevin! Good timing for Ezra's/Green Machine's workshop tomorrow night about bike security and theft deterrence:

http://www.thechainlink.org/events/lock-schlock-and-barrel-defeatin...

I hope people make it out to that!

I'm planning on it.

Sarah D. said:

Thank you for compiling and posting this, Kevin! Good timing for Ezra's/Green Machine's workshop tomorrow night about bike security and theft deterrence:

http://www.thechainlink.org/events/lock-schlock-and-barrel-defeatin...

I hope people make it out to that!

Thanks for doing this!

I do draw conclusions about rates of types of thefts however, and it would appear that victims aren't getting any better at securing their property and in some instances are getting worse. For the first time since I started tracking these statistics (2010) more than 60% of the CSBR theft reports were of bikes that either weren't locked or were locked with only a cable lock (60.34%).

Only 6.43% of reported to the CSBR were of bikes which were locked with a Newer U-Lock with a flat key to a Bike Rack.

Recovery rates for stolen bikes remains abysmal. In 2014, it was a little over 3%.>>

Do you think there's a chance that some of the more prolific U-lock cutters being out of the 'biz has driven up other types of thefts percentage-wise?

Despite it's obvious limitations (under-reporting of thefts, user-generated reports, no or minimal follow-up investigation, etc.), I think the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry is still the most accurate window into how and where bikes are being stolen in Chicago. Whether the CSBR data represent a fifth or a tenth, or even fewer, of the universe of Chicago bike thefts, we'll never know. So sure there's a chance. But when I look at the numbers over at least the past 3 years, I think the kinds of thefts have become pretty stable. And when I look at that percentage of "newer u-lock, locked to a bike rack" thefts, I still think that it's confirmation that there are comparatively few angle grinder thieves operating in our fair city.

h' 1.0 said:

[snip]

Do you think there's a chance that some of the more prolific U-lock cutters being out of the 'biz has driven up other types of thefts percentage-wise?

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