shows intern using bolt cutters while
people ignore him completely.]
Just noticed the Willamette Week has devoted a cover story to bike theft. They sent out intern Josh Silverman to steal his own bike in broad daylight to see if anyone would stop him (no one did).
They also made a video documenting the experiment.
They got the idea for their story from a video called “Bike Thief” by The Neistat Brothers that was all over the web a few months ago. In that video actors also stole their own bikes but used power tools on busy New York City streets. No one even batted an eye.
But Portland is a much different place than New York City.
In this case the actor was a clean-cut white kid using ordinary bolt cutters (as opposed to power tools). I’m sure the response would have been different if he was a more sketchy-looking individual. I think people assumed that Silverman just lost his key and was just trying to get his bike back.
Ironically, as their story points out, on the day of their experiment there were six bikes listed on the Stolen Bike Listings.
Remember, the best thing to do if you see someone stealing a bike is to call 911. If they did lose their key, let them explain that to the cops. This is good motivation to have some sort of means to identify your bike in your wallet at all times.
This story and video is also a good reminder that if you use a cheap chain or cable lock, your bike is as good as gone. Using a high-quality U-lock makes losing your bike to thieves much less likely.
For tips on bike theft prevention and recovery, check out my Bike Theft page. And by the way, I’m just about ready to launch my revamped stolen bike listings…stay tuned!