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San Diego bike owners take things into their own hands

BikeIndex.org fills in gap

San Diego Police stolen bike photos on social media
San Diego Police stolen bike photos on social media

"Detectives in northern division received a report regarding a theft near 5700 Santa Fe St.," posted the San Diego Police Department on social media on October 26. "They were able to find [a] video showing a man taking items belonging to the victim. The man admitted to [the] theft, along with several other stolen items. [The] detectives found seven bikes, all belonging to different victims.

The following day, a Pacific Beach man Facebooked a photo of his stolen dark green 2019 Raleigh Merit 1 bicycle, and the facemask adorned "scumbag thief" wearing a purple-colored hoodie. "We just moved here and thought it would be safe to leave our doors unlocked (they were shut) while we were home in broad daylight," read the caption in part underneath the incriminating photos. "This guy came in while I was in my office, and my wife was sleeping."

Listing from BikeIndex.org

"There's a large uptick in apartment building break-ins," Bryan Hance of BikeIndex.org said to me. "So many new apartment buildings make residents park in their 'secure' bike parking areas, which aren't that secure, and we are seeing so many instances of thieves forcing their way into these at night and then just robbing them blind. Often the bike anchors and racks in these spaces are quite weak, so once they're inside, it's like a bike buffet for these thieves. There's an uptick in bike shop break-ins. With covid-19, job loss, and a pullback by law enforcement, we've seen enormous numbers of bike shops get robbed."

Hance is the co-founder of BikeIndex.org, a "bike registry that gives everyone the ability to register and recover bicycles." The non-profit site, where all monies donated go toward staff and web servers, states that they are the “most widely used and successful bicycle registration service in the world, with over 286,000 cataloged bikes, 850 community partners, and tens of thousands of daily searches. It’s a database used and searched by individuals, bike shops, police departments, and other apps."

I communicated with the 44-year-old Portland-based cyclist over the weekend, about the same time when somebody stole a Marine Four Corners in La Jolla, and another person lifted a circa-1980 Schwinn by Little Italy; both thefts reported on Hance's website/app on Halloween.

"In 2020, for the 20-mile radius for San Diego, there are 175 stolen registrations, and we still have two months to go."

In 2019, the bike index had 117 stolen registrations; for 2018, 97 stolen registrations.

Hance says of the 175 stolen bikes registered on his bike index for this year; only four members reported their bikes recovered.

"There's a chronic under-reporting of found bikes, so this is likely higher."

Bryan Hance: "There's a chronic under-reporting of found bikes."

An Escondido resident recovered his or her bike days before Haloween and posted about it online. "UPDATE!!!!!! [The] bike has been found!!! Thanks to everyone who helped and commented on this post. [The] guy was riding it down a trail. [He] tried to say his friend gave it to him. And then he refused to get off the bike, and [the] dude got punched in the face ...."

From the bike index, Lily Williams warns bike theft victims saying, "whoever has your bike might not know it's stolen" on a blog headlined: "Bike safety tips for recovering your own bicycle."

"Bikes tend to change hands frequently once they leave your possession. If someone has or lists your bike and you want to confront them, remember that they could truly think they got a screaming good deal on a sale. Your bike could have also been stolen, abandoned, picked up, abandoned again. It goes on and on.

Your bike's journey once it leaves your possession might not make much sense, but it's not on you to accuse someone of bike theft. Even if you have concrete evidence that your bike's thief is a serial offender and will strike again if you don't do something, your local law enforcement might not be able to help. They'll be even less inclined to assist if you haven't filed a police report on the theft, to begin with."

Last year, Hance and his team helped recover a $6000 Felt electric bike stolen from Coronado; a cyclist spotted the rare bike in a Tijuana swapmeet then cross-referenced it on Hance's site. Police departments from both sides of the border collaborated in the recovery process.

"It is important to file a police report including the serial numbers with photographs when you realize your bike has been stolen," says the San Diego Police Department's Facebook page. "You can also engrave a unique number that can help us track the bike or other property back to the owner."

Hance encourages our cyclists to register their bikes — stolen or not — onto his website for free of charge and communicate with the Stolen Bikes San Diego Facebook subscribers. "These groups are a central meeting place for bike theft victims to both post their bikes but also trade intelligence on thefts and thieves in their area. Many victims are now equipped with Nest or Ring cam footage and coordinating with other victims to ID thieves, find their information, and spread the word about thieves in their area. Another tip: If your bike’s stolen, look for it on OfferUp first because this is where the vast majority are being fenced."

"And if people want to help fight bike thefts in their area, they can take a peek at https://bikeindex.org/news/ to learn how to get started."

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San Diego Police stolen bike photos on social media
San Diego Police stolen bike photos on social media

"Detectives in northern division received a report regarding a theft near 5700 Santa Fe St.," posted the San Diego Police Department on social media on October 26. "They were able to find [a] video showing a man taking items belonging to the victim. The man admitted to [the] theft, along with several other stolen items. [The] detectives found seven bikes, all belonging to different victims.

The following day, a Pacific Beach man Facebooked a photo of his stolen dark green 2019 Raleigh Merit 1 bicycle, and the facemask adorned "scumbag thief" wearing a purple-colored hoodie. "We just moved here and thought it would be safe to leave our doors unlocked (they were shut) while we were home in broad daylight," read the caption in part underneath the incriminating photos. "This guy came in while I was in my office, and my wife was sleeping."

Listing from BikeIndex.org

"There's a large uptick in apartment building break-ins," Bryan Hance of BikeIndex.org said to me. "So many new apartment buildings make residents park in their 'secure' bike parking areas, which aren't that secure, and we are seeing so many instances of thieves forcing their way into these at night and then just robbing them blind. Often the bike anchors and racks in these spaces are quite weak, so once they're inside, it's like a bike buffet for these thieves. There's an uptick in bike shop break-ins. With covid-19, job loss, and a pullback by law enforcement, we've seen enormous numbers of bike shops get robbed."

Hance is the co-founder of BikeIndex.org, a "bike registry that gives everyone the ability to register and recover bicycles." The non-profit site, where all monies donated go toward staff and web servers, states that they are the “most widely used and successful bicycle registration service in the world, with over 286,000 cataloged bikes, 850 community partners, and tens of thousands of daily searches. It’s a database used and searched by individuals, bike shops, police departments, and other apps."

I communicated with the 44-year-old Portland-based cyclist over the weekend, about the same time when somebody stole a Marine Four Corners in La Jolla, and another person lifted a circa-1980 Schwinn by Little Italy; both thefts reported on Hance's website/app on Halloween.

"In 2020, for the 20-mile radius for San Diego, there are 175 stolen registrations, and we still have two months to go."

In 2019, the bike index had 117 stolen registrations; for 2018, 97 stolen registrations.

Hance says of the 175 stolen bikes registered on his bike index for this year; only four members reported their bikes recovered.

"There's a chronic under-reporting of found bikes, so this is likely higher."

Bryan Hance: "There's a chronic under-reporting of found bikes."

An Escondido resident recovered his or her bike days before Haloween and posted about it online. "UPDATE!!!!!! [The] bike has been found!!! Thanks to everyone who helped and commented on this post. [The] guy was riding it down a trail. [He] tried to say his friend gave it to him. And then he refused to get off the bike, and [the] dude got punched in the face ...."

From the bike index, Lily Williams warns bike theft victims saying, "whoever has your bike might not know it's stolen" on a blog headlined: "Bike safety tips for recovering your own bicycle."

"Bikes tend to change hands frequently once they leave your possession. If someone has or lists your bike and you want to confront them, remember that they could truly think they got a screaming good deal on a sale. Your bike could have also been stolen, abandoned, picked up, abandoned again. It goes on and on.

Your bike's journey once it leaves your possession might not make much sense, but it's not on you to accuse someone of bike theft. Even if you have concrete evidence that your bike's thief is a serial offender and will strike again if you don't do something, your local law enforcement might not be able to help. They'll be even less inclined to assist if you haven't filed a police report on the theft, to begin with."

Last year, Hance and his team helped recover a $6000 Felt electric bike stolen from Coronado; a cyclist spotted the rare bike in a Tijuana swapmeet then cross-referenced it on Hance's site. Police departments from both sides of the border collaborated in the recovery process.

"It is important to file a police report including the serial numbers with photographs when you realize your bike has been stolen," says the San Diego Police Department's Facebook page. "You can also engrave a unique number that can help us track the bike or other property back to the owner."

Hance encourages our cyclists to register their bikes — stolen or not — onto his website for free of charge and communicate with the Stolen Bikes San Diego Facebook subscribers. "These groups are a central meeting place for bike theft victims to both post their bikes but also trade intelligence on thefts and thieves in their area. Many victims are now equipped with Nest or Ring cam footage and coordinating with other victims to ID thieves, find their information, and spread the word about thieves in their area. Another tip: If your bike’s stolen, look for it on OfferUp first because this is where the vast majority are being fenced."

"And if people want to help fight bike thefts in their area, they can take a peek at https://bikeindex.org/news/ to learn how to get started."

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Comments
1

How times have changed! In the seventies you built a beach cruiser a couple of times a year, it would get stolen and you just used the next one you saw. We kept contributing and everybody had a bike. Now you got a bunch of yuppies riding $6000 bikes. Hodads go home!

Nov. 8, 2020

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