Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Portland rated in top ten for bike theft

Posted by on June 14th, 2007 at 1:06 pm

bike theft

(File photo)

U-lock maker Kryptonite has released their list of the Top 10 Cities for Bike Theft. Portland comes in at a tie for 9th place with San Diego, CA and Washington, DC.

Here is the complete list:

    Top 10 Cities for Bike Theft
    1. New York City
    2. Chicago
    3. Boston
    4. Philadelphia
    5. San Jose
    6. Los Angeles – tie
    San Francisco – tie
    8. Seattle
    9. San Diego – tie
    Washington, DC – tie
    Portland, Oregon – tie

According to Kryptonite Marketing Manager Donna Tocci, the list was put together with numbers from proprietary and on-the-ground data,

“The list is based on things we learned in 2006, after hundreds of shop visits, attending events, talking with community police and talking with customers on the phone, through email and at events. We’ve been out there longer than anyone and have some great relationships so we get some of the best intel around.”

I haven’t run the numbers, but judging from the volume of Stolen Bike Listings on this site (sorry, they’re broken at the moment) it’s clear that bike theft remains a big problem in Portland.

If you are currently using a cable lock, you should not expect your bike to be safe. Ditch the cable and get a high-quality U-lock or some beefy chain (see photo).

For more tips, check out my Bike Theft Page.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

  • Carl June 14, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    We have ARRIVED!
    I still think we could do better, though. Cities really should be required to be in Kryptonite\’s top 3 in order to get Platinum.

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  • tonyt June 14, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    It cannot be said too often; cables are a mild deterent. They\’ll only slow someone down.

    Here\’s a joke related to bike theft perhaps.

    Two guys are walking in the woods.

    One of them notices that the other one is wearing running shoes.

    \”Dude, what are the running shoes for?\”

    \”In case we get chased by a bear.\”

    \”Dude, you are NOT going to outrun a bear!\”

    \”Dude, I don\’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.\”

    That is bike theft prevention in a nutshell. Lock your bike up better than the bikes around it.

    Cables suck. (am I allowed to say suck on this site?)

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  • jj June 14, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    we have a high gauge cable – bout as thick as our yellow kryptos… would it still melt like butter?

    also, some folks need to get together and design a gps traceable bike alarm / sting operation system thing. There\’s a lot of options and perhaps we could drop out of the top-ten… etc

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  • D June 14, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    No cable is a safe primary lock. It can be useful as a secondary lock through a front wheel, but it needs to be attached to a quality chain or u-lock. You get what you pay for as far as security goes. Bulky security chains, stout expensive u-locks(mini!) equal a safer, but never theft proof bike. Just lock smart.

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  • D June 14, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    One other thing. It\’d be interesting to see what cities use the highest percentage of cable locks. It\’d be better if the industry stopped the sales of them as primary locks, period.

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  • B June 14, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Just over lunch today, I saw a beatiful Poprad Disc locked up just with a u-lock around the front wheel. Hope it was still there when the owners got back. I put a note on it and hope the owners got lucky, but would not be surprised if another bike was stolen today. Almost like the people complaining about their cars being broken into when you later find out they left the doors unlocked and their laptop and i-pod on the seat.


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  • Disco D June 14, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Are the numbers based on total bikes stolen or some sort of \’per capita\’ number?

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  • Martha S. June 14, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    I was at school today and saw a bike (in an area with a good 5 available staple racks as well as some other more secure bike racks) \”locked\” to a parking meter with a cable lock. a STRETCHY cable lock. I was kind of tempted to pull out a book and wait for the owner to come get their ride so that I could ask them what in gods name they were thinking. It would have been very, very easy to just lift the bike up over the parking meter. On the braight side, it wasn\’t the greatest bike; but it certainly deseved more care than that.

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  • Mike June 14, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    haha. Ingersoll Rand sure it trying to cause a LOT of commotion to boost their ratings in our city. Donna, your totally lame job of mopping up your Bic pen problem may have impressed some (and instigated Kryptonite to self proclaim themselves as \”being responsible in how they handled it\”, but your damage control didnt do much to impress me and many others. You knew of the vulnerability of your lock for some time and never did anything about it. Your locks are responsible for many of the stolen bikes in these cities you list!
    the \”responsible\” thing to do wouldve been to go with the European key many years prior and to continue replacing cylinder locks for longer than you did (and not advertise yourself as being responsible after being liable for a major problem that you couldve avoided).
    I hope these PR attempts dont help you in your quest to gain back market share. On-Guard was using Euro keys for many years prior to the Bic fallout and deserves all the success they\’ve gained over the last two years. they have a better lock and are not owned by a HUGE non-industry corporation.

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  • T June 15, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Why are there 11 cities?

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  • Coyote June 15, 2007 at 11:54 am

    What a scam. Kryptoupyoursnite is just trying to sell more locks. Just like the the pin locks they knew were vulnerable for 10 years before they pulled them. (I still see lots of pin u-locks around. I used to unlock them and just leave them hang. Now I only do it the owner is around.)

    BTW a big red key will make short work of any case hardened chain. If it is too hard for that, it will fracture. (Sssssssss pop.) Battery circular saws beat all in just a few minutes.

    Better parking facilities, police not in cars, and citizens that participate, are the keys to curbing bike theft. Everybody thinks that bike thieves are just a bunch toothless methheads – Wrong, it is a business. They are as good at what they do, as you are in your job.

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  • ME June 15, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Only thing regarding the gps idea, is who\’s going to track the signal? Cops? don\’t think so. You? good luck with that. I can see it used in the future, when bikes become a more respected option in our city, and the many commuters who actually rely on their rides 100% of the time will need political support…and action.

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  • tonyt June 15, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Go to page 2 at this article.


    800,000 bikes stolen per year in Holland. It\’s a culture that certainly values the bike. Apparently even the thieves really value them.

    Bike theft is here to stay. Get a good lock, learn how to use it.

    Just spotted some really beautiful but almost wholly unusable bike racks in that newer complex just off of SW 10th, between Jefferson and Main. They\’re essentially lower-case \’e\’s that are made out of wide metal, rendering it pretty much impossible to use a U-lock. They look cool, but I wonder, did anyone actually talk to a cyclist about how to design a rack?

    They pretty much require the use of a cable which as we\’ve covered here, are a waste of money.

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  • tonyt June 15, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Regarding the gps thing. Now that cell phones are on their way to being locatable, it\’s not a stretch to imagine something pretty small, inserted and locked in place in the seat tube that could receive a call and then transmit it\’s location. I would imagine though that that would be pretty pricey.

    And the person who would purchase such a thing would probably take it upon themselves to learn how to lock up a bike.

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  • VR June 15, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    A little video regarding bike theft:


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  • Donna Tocci June 15, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    As I mentioned a week or so ago, Portland cyclists are a passionate group and a very knowledgeable group, too. Lots of great comments about cable locks here.

    Hey Mike – I hope you are happy with your lock and that you use it properly every time. I\’ll keep my fingers crossed that it protects your bike well for years.

    Mike and Coyote – \’knew about it\’ – Nope, sorry, we didn\’t.

    Coyote – I agree about the better bike parking and your other ideas. I think that the readers of this blog are very engaged, though. I love reading about bikes being recovered b/c of BikePortland readers!

    T – there are 11 cities because there was a tie…

    Carl – you crack me up – thanks for the giggle on a Friday

    Happy Weekend, all. Safe riding!

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  • Mike June 15, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    PR Campaign!
    Donna, \”if\” you didnt know your lockcores were not vulnerable or a very outdated system til this Bic pen story, I feel even worse about your company. Kryptonite has thought of themself as the premiere lock brand on the market for a LONG time. Being the premiere brand youd think youd not only know of better technology, but also use it. On Guard has used the same style lockcore youre using now for at least five years. It would seem now that you are a follower, not a leader in this industry. Tis a shame given you have the major capital to do the right thing, unfortunately big corporations tend to care more about profit than doing the right thing…….

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  • Donna Tocci June 16, 2007 at 4:30 am

    Hey Mike – yes, you are right, the Top 10 list is a little marketing and a lot fact.

    But…follower? Hmm….1972…created the U-lock and bike security category…..2000…New York Lock…disc style cylinder before your brand existed….

    Sorry, I just get fiesty about the whole issue even now. You say \’big corporation\’, but I ask you to think about the 20 people that worked through the issue. 20 very human people in that office. We felt badly and did what we thought was right. Big company backed us, yes, but it was the 20 people in our office that made it right and replaced over 400,000 locks for free worldwide for over a year. No matter when they bought the lock. Seriously – have a lock from 1975? Get a brand spankin new lock. Most people thought that was pretty good. And, no, nobody did anything like that – replace 30 year old locks (and yes, they had those cylinders from not too many years before \’04).

    So, let\’s agree to disagree…you love your brand and that\’s great! You use your lock and it protects you – even better! I\’m sorry we offended you…truly. But, personal attacks don\’t get us any closer to helping combat theft in your great city, right? We hope to help that issue in Portland…and, maybe help you along the way with some racks where you\’d need them or a bike valet program at an event you attend…if not, again, I\’m sorry and we\’ll try harder in the future.

    Safe riding…

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  • Mike June 16, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    in 1972 Ingersoll Rand didnt own Kryptonite. So, in comes the BIG parent company and to optimize profitability they stick with an old design. that is being a follower, not a leader. your leadership within your industry left with the original owners.
    Dont tell me about doing the responsible thing. you guys did what you did for damage control reasons (lets face it, you guys were getting BAD press when the story hit). if you hadnt done the replacement policy youd have even lost more of your market share. dont tell me about how GREAT your program was when you shut it down rather early IMO. 400,000 locks may sound like a a big number, but tell me how long it takes you to sell that many locks… Sounds to me you got out of this easy. a bunch of press with a seemingly large number and you feel youve sold yourself back to an unsuspecting audience. thats what you call PR, damage control, smart advertising, or what Kryptonite likes to self proclaim as responsibility.

    while youre answering questions, tell me… is the city of Portland paying for the plaques that will be placed next to your staple \”art\” racks, or are you paying for those as well? doesnt seem like good accounting to me if the city takes you up on the offer of saving money by having you pay for inexpensive bike racks only to pay for a plaque that would seemingly cost more…

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  • Mr. Know it All June 17, 2007 at 1:33 am

    I think Mike and Donna should go out on a date. 🙂

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  • debe October 2, 2007 at 1:20 am

    growing up my dad all ways engraved his driver ID nuber on our bikes (this being in the 1970\’s and 80\’s) and would you belive about 5 years agao he recved a phone call about one of my bikes being found. so as it goes along with having a good lock, its good to have a number engraved good on the bike as will.
    This is not the only bike that was brought bake to us dure to having a ID number on the bike, my child is riding one of my bikes that was brought back from the dead two times.

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  • wsbob October 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

    I guess I missed out on the comments from Donna in response to the criticisms from Mike regarding kryptonite\’s bic pen defeat fiasco.

    Donna (as if she\’s still following this website/thread…)..now that the year long Kryptonite bic pen unlockable replacement campaign is over, what happens if someone with one of those locks contacts your company and says \”Hey, I have one of your locks that is possible to unlock with a Bic pen. I\’m sorry, but I didn\’t happen to hear that you were only replacing customers locks with this problem for one year. Because of that, is Kryptonite really going to leave me to bear responsibility for replacing their faulty lock?\”.

    Irresponsibility is never good. It\’s particularly worse when the effects of irresponsibility are spread over the kind of major scale that is synonymous with a huge corporation. On Guard is looking better than Kryptonite, to me.

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  • a.O October 2, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    I missed this too, wsbob, but pretty darned funny! Classic Portland jaded indie types v. perky corporate PR whitewasher. My personal favorite:

    \”We felt badly and did what we thought was right.\” -Donna.

    So, you replaced 400,000 locks out of the kindness of your heart?! Hilarious!!

    That would be *ILLEGAL* – a violation of Kryptonite\’s fiduciary obligation to its shareholders. Congratulations if you own Kryptonite stock, because now you may now have a shareholder derivative suit based on Donna\’s public admissions!

    Actually, this statement was carefully worded and is (or may be) literally true without telling the truth on this issue, I suspect. Although Donna may have done what she thought was right, Kryptonite did not do what it did *because* the corporate decision-makers thought it was morally right…that is, unless they broke the law.

    I guarantee there is a memo from Kryptonite\’s corporate counsel somewhere answering the question, \”What happens if people with our easily pick-able lock get their bikes stolen?\” And I\’m almost certain the answer is, \”Thanks to your defective product, you (Kryptonite) have to buy them all new bikes!\”

    You can imagine the hastily-called Board meeting…panic in the darkly-paneled room, squirming in the expensive leather chairs. \”Ladies and gentleman, we\’re faced with certification of a class-action lawsuit by everyone who has bought one of our products.\” What do do?

    Get everyone new locks, or buy everyone new bikes? I think I know what the shareholders would want, er, require.

    So, Kryptonite almost certainly acted as it did not because of any perceived moral obligation but because it was required by law to do so. Then they send poor Donna out into the trenches to salvage what\’s left of their reputation.

    Corporate BS doesn\’t fly in Portland, Donna. May I suggest a less well-educated city for your next attempt? Washington DC, perhaps? It\’s full of idiots.

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  • stu... October 2, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    whats with the people leaving notes on bikes, wanting to pull them off parking meters, and, for god\’s sake, opening people\’s u-locks.

    just keep moving… don\’t you dare touch my bike.

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