Bike Theft

PPB officer on a mission to curb downtown bike theft

by on October 29th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Ofcr David Sanders PPB
Officer David Sanders.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s a strong feeling among many in the community that the Portland Police Bureau simply doesn’t care about bike theft. I hear this sentiment all the time, and I agree that the bureau needs to step up and make this growing problem a higher priority.

In the meantime however, it’s good to know there are some PPB officers going out of their way to battle bike thieves. Officer David Sanders is one of them; but unfortunately he’s doing it inside a bureau that has yet to join him in the fight.

I met Sanders last week at his headquarters office in Old Town.

As he led me into a conference table, I noticed about 8-10 bikes strewn about. They were just the latest batch that Sanders and his partners have taken off the streets and now hope to connect with their owners. Sanders is one of six members of the the downtown Bicycle Patrol Unit (four of which are paid for by Portland Patrol Inc., a private security company that contracts with the PPB), whose job is to keep the peace on the streets. The bulk of his day is responding to low-level disputes and establishing relationships with downtown residents and business owners.

But whenever he can find a few extra minutes, his attention turns to bike theft.

Raising the profile of Portland’s bike theft problem

by on October 17th, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Putting bike theft on their radar.
(Photo: City of Portland)

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Portland has a serious theft problem when it comes to bicycles and bike parts. For all of you that feel hopeless about it, I wanted to chime in and say I think there are some signs that the tide is finally starting to turn against the thieves.

We’ve been focused on this issue for over nine years — ever since we first launched our Stolen Bike Listings in September 2005. Since then we’ve helped recover so many bikes I stopped counting a long time ago (I’d guess it’s well into the 100s by now). Back in the early days I actually used to list bikes manually while taking information from aggrieved victims over the phone!

Almost 6,000 stolen bikes later, our listings have become a key part of the local fight against thieves.

Bike Theft Chronicles: DRT winning Bike Friday stolen, possibly seen in Portland

by on October 15th, 2014 at 1:26 pm

2014 Disaster Relief Trials-118
Stolen in Eugene on Friday and it might be in Portland now.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Willie Hatfield, the winner of Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials event has just informed us that the bike he used — a custom Bike Friday — was stolen in Eugene this past Friday. (more…)

Bike Theft Chronicles: ‘Scumbag’ stealing lights in broad daylight

by on October 15th, 2014 at 11:37 am

via reader email and Reddit:


Bike Theft Chronicles: ‘They snapped the sign off the pole’

by on October 9th, 2014 at 9:40 am

This installment comes in the form of a Twitter conversation:


Bike Theft Chronicles: Stolen from TriMet bus rack

by on October 8th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

From RM on 9/24/14:

“About two weeks ago my husband’s bike was stolen off the front of a TriMet bus. It was not taken by another rider. It was taken by a random person on the street who ran up to the bus, grabbed his bike and rode off. The driver alerted our friend, who had borrowed the bike but by the time she got off the bus the thief could not be caught. I contacted TriMet and got a weak sorry from them but no hint that they could or would compensate us for the loss. The person I spoke to said, “it’s public transit,” like that somehow made it all go away. From what I understand, this type of thing is a rarity and I would think that TriMet’s Risk department or some such would have a way to compensate (even a small amount) for the loss of something that was put in their care while someone is riding the bus. I’ve made a report to the police but am not holding my breath for a result. Our homeowner’s policy has a deductible greater than the value of the bike. I don’t know if you have any suggestions or influence in a matter of this sort, but any input or help would be greatly appreciated.”

— Read more Bike Theft Chronicles

Bike Theft Chronicles: “I can only conclude it’s all stolen”

by on October 6th, 2014 at 11:36 am

[Note: In case you missed the announcement, we are now posting reader emails, comments, and other communiques we come across regarding bike theft. We are hearing so much about this crisis, we can’t follow-up with a story on everything, so we figure the next best thing is just to try and highlight as many of these as we can. Keep in mind, these posts have not been vetted or verified by BikePortland, we are simply re-posting and will include a link to the original source when possible. – Jonathan]

From C T on 10/6/14:

Comment of the Week: How to fight bike theft

by on October 3rd, 2014 at 3:21 pm

A “Cash for Bicycles” offer posted at St. Francis Park in
SE Portland, modified to remove its number.
(Photo: Bryan Hance)

Bryan Hance might know more about bike theft than anybody in the country.

So it’s always a treat when the Portland resident and founder of StolenBicycleRegistry.com, now BikeIndex.org, drops some knowledge here. (Note: Hance is also creator of the Stolen Bike Listings tool we use here on BikePortland — which will be relaunched very very soon!)

Here’s what Hance had to say on our post about our new Bike Theft Chronicles feature. Hance is working on a similar problem to local startup Project 529 — make it free and easy for everyone to register their bikes before thefts and to track them after thefts — but he’s tackling it from an open-source angle.


Bike Theft Chronicles: “I just feel so defeated and vulnerable”

by on October 1st, 2014 at 2:33 pm

“I’ve had it up to here with the stolen bike parts in Portland… This is just another notch in the belt of biker discrimination and injustice.”
— Reader email, 9/24/14

As we reported back in July, bike theft in Portland is out of control. The problem shows no sign of going away and in fact, if my judgment of web chatter and other intelligence-gathering channels I monitor daily is correct, it’s getting worse.

We are working to help in various ways (a major update to our Stolen Bike Listings is coming online soon and we’re sitting down with the PPB next week to talk about various strategies), but in the meantime I wanted to do something with the constant stream of emails we receive on this topic.

Even a 6-year-old can feel Portland’s massive bike theft problem

by on July 29th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

— This post was co-written by Michael Andersen and Jonathan Maus

KATU-TV ended their evening newscast on Friday with a pretty touching anecdote about a girl who knows how much her dad’s bikes mean to him.