The Chainlink

What is up with the supposed rash of bike thefts? Is this out of control or what? I have never been a victim and now that I've said that...but seriously who's stuff is getting stolen and where?

One of my friends got her third bike stolen. No she didn't lock it up wrong. Either a bolt cutter or power grinder through the center of the u-lock on Western and Wilson in the evening. Then, three days later, had another bike stolen the same way in Logan Square. I have many mechanic friends that have related similar stores about both bikes and bike parts (i.e. forks, handle bars, crank sets, etc.) that have been getting ripped off. What's the deal? How do you prevent it? Is there some kind of major bike thief rings operating in the recession for what I would assume is a very small profit margin?

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Just speculating, here: with the economy in the toilet, the dregs are even more desperate than usual, combined with an increase in bicycle ridership (summer and economy), so there are more easy thefts for crackheads and junkies. The consequences for getting caught stealing a bike are also marginal, so stolen bikes become a sort of de facto currency. I was reading an article (sorry, no citation available) a few days ago that suggested that the asking price for a stolen bicycle could be correlated to the current price of a day's supply of the prevalent street drug in any city (I believe the city mentioned in the article was Copenhagen.).

I have been locking my bike up outside in high-theft areas for the last 7 years. It helps that I have an ugly rust-bucket of a bike, and that I religiously double-lock, using 2 strong u-locks every time. I hope I haven't jinxed it by saying it.

If you have an expensive bike, all I can say is double lock it, and bring it inside if you are parked overnight. Otherwise you are effectively locking a thousand-dollar bill (your replacement cost, not the crackhead's sale price) to a fence.
We need harsher penalties for bike theft (monetary value doesn't work here cause it doesn't account for the inconvenience and financial hardship of having a bike stolen.) And we always need better places to lock up (preferably inside with security that carries a liability since we've learned that the CTA could care less.) Oh yeah, and NEVER EVER use a cable lock. I don't get how many i still see.
The success of Craigslist must be having an impact. It's just so easy to sell any bike part there.
Add on all the bikes getting regularly stripped from the racks little by little. It drives me nuts. Anyone have a timelapse camera they will donate and I can find the places to mount it so we can see who is doing this stuff ? 773-343-4500 - Marty
Well, I am knocking on wood. I have never had my bike stolen or messed with except for the air let out of my tire once or twice. I use the On Guard brand u-lock and I like the design. You would have to cut through both sides of the u to get it free. I never leave my bike out over night either. The sad thing is, studies have been done that show that you could take your time cut through a lock in a crowded public place and most people won't even pay attention let alone report it. We have become such an apathetic society. Plus I think many people would think, when seeing someone cutting off a lock, that it is too brazen to be a thief so it must be the owner or someone that has the authority to remove bikes.
capital punishment i say

Gabe said:
We need harsher penalties for bike theft (monetary value doesn't work here cause it doesn't account for the inconvenience and financial hardship of having a bike stolen.) And we always need better places to lock up (preferably inside with security that carries a liability since we've learned that the CTA could care less.) Oh yeah, and NEVER EVER use a cable lock. I don't get how many i still see.
Bike theft is just a fact of life in any major city. Not to belittle the experience of those who've lost bikes, but I haven't seen any hard or really convincing anecdotal evidence that there's been an uptick in bicycle theft recently in Chicago.

The best things to do are the same as they've always been: if you're worried about theft, overlock and ride the cheapest bike that you're willing to be seen on. Personally, I just accept it as a cost of living and try to educate others about the very basic, practical steps one can take to reduce (but not eliminate) the odds of being victimized.

Not worrying about bicycle theft is incredibly liberating.
A good example of uglification, six years.
http://peopleofwalmart.com/?p=1661
Funny story, the third bike that my friend had stolen was recover at the Ashland and 41st swap meet. She was notified of the location of her bike by a friend and confronted the guys and they handed it back to her without incident. This, I assume, is a one in a thousand chance happening. Good for her! Good for justice!
Check out the stolen bike registry. I check back once in a while just to see what's being reported. The thing that seems the most obvious to me is the type of locks being used in a majority of thefts- cables. A u-lock is no guarantee, but a cable makes it really damn easy to snatch your bike in a matter of a few seconds.

http://chicago.stolenbike.org/
the tri-state swap o rama also has lots of bikes too. It is at 129th and Kostner. $2.00 admission. Last week I saw cannondales, gary fishers, and many other expensive bikes.
Different gal, but I can only imagine where most of these stolen bikes end up. If they are not chopped and pieced out that is.

h3 said:
43rd and Ashland, "swap-o-rama." Not the first I've heard of a stolem bike turning up there.
Did a little recon mission with a partner last summer but no smoking guns that day.
Is this the gal who posted on here maybe a week ago asking where to look for a stolen bike?
Any way we could get more of this story?
Thx.

mattbikes1 said:
Funny story, the third bike that my friend had stolen was recover at the Ashland and 41st swap meet. She was notified of the location of her bike by a friend and confronted the guys and they handed it back to her without incident. This, I assume, is a one in a thousand chance happening. Good for her! Good for justice!

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