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Bike Theft Task Force launched: Now let’s get to work!

Posted by on March 31st, 2015 at 2:06 pm

bttflead

A local blogger speaking at today’s press conference.
(Photo by Caesar Ursic)

Today we officially launched the Portland Bike Theft Task Force.

It’s been quite a journey to get to this point…

bttf-logo

Regular BikePortlanders know we’ve been documenting this city’s bike theft problem for almost 10 years. Who remembers our May 2005 story, Bike theft: What should we do about it? Yes, we’ve been frustrated by this issue for nearly a decade now.

That’s why today felt so good. We actually took another big step toward doing something about it.

Back in October, following a meeting with Mayor Charlie Hales and Portland Police Bureau Chief Larry O’Dea, we decided enough is enough and began a concerted effort to raise the profile of the issue using the most powerful tool I could think of: this blog.

We started publishing the Bike Theft Chronicles to highlight the absurd, helpless, brazen, tragic, and outrageous stories we hear on almost a weekly basis. After meeting a Portland Police Bureau office who was just as frustrated as we were, we declared battle against bike theft.

Then we went offline and hosted a community summit that brought everyone to the table. That summit helped cement our partnership with the Police Bureau and ultimately led to creation of the Bike Theft Task Force.

At the press conference today, I stood on the steps of City Hall, feeling very proud to be a part of this effort, while I listened to Chief O’Dea say the following words (emphases mine):

bttf-odea

“I am challenging the community to
come up with a plan that will reduce
reported bike thefts by 50% in 5 years.”
PPB Chief Larry O’Dea.
(Photo: Portland Police Bureau)

“The level of frustration around this issue is at an all-time high. We’re hearing from the community and from our officers on the street that thieves are becoming more brazen by the day. City-issued bicycle racks have been sawed through with power tools and people are having bicycles taken right off their car racks and porches. 

This cannot continue. Portland is a cycling city. Thousands of people depend on their bicycles every single day to get them to work, the store, school, and so on.

Today is the day we as a community get organized to address this problem head-on. 

On that note, I am issuing a challenge: I am challenging the community to come up with a plan that will reduce reported bike thefts by 50% in 5 years.”

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Here’s another excerpt from O’Dea’s remarks that are important to me:

“While the bureau will host the Task Force, I want to make it clear that this has been community-driven effort from the start and it will continue to be an equal partnership with the public.”

This isn’t the PPB’s task force. It’s our task force.

As for the challenge, standing on the steps with me today was an impressive show of force that gives me confidence we can meet it: Assistant Chief Bob Day, PPB Commander Sara Westbrook, Sgt. Mike Leasure, and Officers David Sanders and David Bryant from Central Precinct, PBOT Director Leah Treat, Danielle Booth from PBOT’s Active Transportation Division, Project 529 CEO J Allard, BikeIndex.org’s Co-owner Bryan Hance, and others.

The Core Team of the task force includes myself, Sanders, Bryant, Booth, Allard, and Hance. In the next month we will develop a plan to give us a clear strategy to tackle bike theft in Portland from all the angles. Broadly speaking, our effort will focus on prevention, enforcement, education, and collaboration. Don’t be fooled by today’s media coverage, our effort goes way beyond just another city website with a bunch of how-tos and tips. We have some awesome things up our sleeves and we can’t wait to work on them with you.

And I mean you.

As the Chief said, this is a community challenge and this is not your typical bureaucratic task force (I wouldn’t be on it if it was). Working with volunteers (like you!) who want to help fight bike theft is one of our top priorities.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach this point. I’ve spent nearly 10 years documenting this problem and I’m really looking forward to documenting the solutions.

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments. And stay tuned!

— For more on today’s press conference, check out all the local media coverage, photos from the PPB, a statement from Mayor Hales, the new Bike Theft Task Force page on the PPB website, and PBOT’s new page full of resources at tips at EndBikeTheft.org.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Well done!

invisiblebikes
Guest
invisiblebikes

Jonathan, I am all for it and commend you on the work you’ve done to try and get this issue to the forefront.

We all know where the thieves are, when they are there and what they do to all the bikes they take… which makes this whole thing feel like a bad cop sitcom or a 5th grade boys and girls dance. “Their right over there, we see them, they are taunting us but nobody wants to go ask for the first dance!”

I think a good first move for PPD to solidify its commitment to the community would be to go to those camps and chop shops and “clean” house!

Pliny
Guest
Pliny

The problem with busting up the camps is that while we all know the bikes are stolen, that’s not enough to do blanket seizures. What would help is making sure everybody reports stolen bikes as quickly as possible with serial numbers.

If a cop can stop at a camp to do a welfare check and sees serial numbers in plain sight that pop as stolen when searched, the situation changes a bit.

davemess
Guest
davemess

There is always the fact that most often these “chop shops” are illegally camping.

Oregon Mamacita
Guest
Oregon Mamacita

The missing piece is too controversial to touch, but here goes: some of the downtown churches keep the crust punks, the travellers, the lifestyle homeless, the tweekers and the junkies well fed. More responsible behavior on the part on churches (Mission Gospel will explain how to provide services) could discourage the camps.

The homeless population is many populations, and its time we protected
our old resident alcoholics from younger, more dangerous bike-stealing bums. Cutting down on bike theft & stopping irresponsible, amateur
programs who are way over their heads could accidentally help the folks who are most oppressed by bike thieves- the peaceful homeless.

John Lascurettes
Guest

Thanks, Jonathan. This is great.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

I too commend this effort to diminish the impact of this pervasive crime. The stolen bicycle has become the economic driver and currency that supports criminal communities that blight our neighborhoods. We know the means to catch bike thieves, tracking chips, hidden cameras, bait bikes and dedicated, committed and persistent law enforcement. In the article I did not see anything about engagement by the DA or Justice Department. My concern is that the thieves will be caught, spend the night in jail where they will get a warm place to sleep and 3 squares, then be back on the street with the arrest and jail really being no punishment for the crime or deterrent to repeating the crime.

I expect this thread to echo with empathy for the woebegone homeless. I know for a fact that not all homeless are criminals (except perhaps for unauthorized camping) , but the ones who are bike thieves have chosen a path that should result in justice. Empathy can follow.

ricochet
Guest
ricochet

Plight should not be an excuse to perpetuate crime. Crime should not be an excuse to hate the suffering.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

? Those who suffer or the condition of suffering?

Anyway no mention of hate was anywhere in my post, now that you mention it, bicycle thieves are not getting my love, and if the criminal justice system delivers them punishment when they are found guilty of crime, then I approve.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

> On that note, I am issuing a challenge: I am challenging the community to come up with a plan that will reduce reported bike thefts by 50% in 5 years.”

Easy, sentence bike thieves to very stiff prison terms. You’d lower the theft issue by a lot more than 50% too, but this will never happen because of liberal policy and people wanting to appear forgiving and lenient. Portlanders tend to shame anyone who supports stiff prison sentences because they don’t want to come off like monsters, but we have to realize this is an epidemic that affects more and more people by the day. Enough with the kumbaya.

You don’t get to have it both ways. You don’t get to masquerade as someone who ‘has a hard time’ with stiff prison sentences for thieves while also demanding that thievery magically decline. Thieves have no place in society.

eddie
Guest
eddie

There is no evidence that longer prison terms deter any kind of crime. The USA jails more of it’s citizenry than any other country in the world and it has no effect on the crime rate, at all.

davemess
Guest
davemess
concerned1
Guest
concerned1

I have a neighbor whom doesn’t have a job yet brings a different stolen bike to His house at least every couple days. He rides a $500.00 mountain bike which was white when He tore in His driveway with it and threw it inside His house, but the bike was painted black the next day. All of this has been reported to the bicycle task force but They aren’t going to do anything about these criminals. This task force is only to be public image Band-Aid for law enforcement. I used to have a positive image regarding the police dept. but have lost faith.

Hazel
Guest
Hazel

There’s a chop shop not far from my house. They seem pretty brazen too and have their garage door open all the time. Are there specific officers I can contact about this?

Pete
Guest
Pete

Excellent work – bike theft is a problem everywhere and Portland can continue to demonstrate leadership that others can learn from.

Really cool logo BTW… can we buy the jersey?? 🙂

Mick O
Guest
Mick O

pixelgate
Easy, sentence bike thieves to very stiff prison terms. You’d lower the theft issue by a lot more than 50% too,

I’m not against very stiff prison terms because I am liberal or lenient. I’m against them because they don’t work and I am sick of paying 1) to incarcerate people and 2) sick of paying for what they do after that incarceration ruins their chances to pay taxes along with me.

scott
Guest
scott

Here here.

Prisons are there to create a cheap labor force that can be exploited by huge corporations. Rehabilitation is the lowest priority in prisons currently and that they make money while getting tax money is the most infuriating thing since Goodwill’s business model.

joebobpdx
Guest
joebobpdx

There, there. I wonder if you have direct experience with these institutions or if you have any evidence to support this very inflammatory claim. I do have some ongoing involvement with the jail/prison/parole system and have seen nothing that supports this claim in Oregon.

scott
Guest
scott

It’s the 13th amendment to the constitution. Start there and you can do the whole history.

Check out UNICOR and FPI after you read some of the history.

scott
Guest
scott

Oh also, I have never been incarcerated. I am a law-abiding, tax paying college graduate that has had a job of some sort since I was 13 years old.

scott
Guest
scott

“I am challenging the community to come up with a plan that will reduce
reported bike thefts by 50% in 5 years.” -PPB Chief Larry O’Dea

Ok. Well since the onus is on us, I will also redirect my tax money to things I think more fitting than useless cops and a dog and pony show task force.

I only hope this can be as successful as the War on Forest Fire or The Drug War. I hope in five years we can look forward to have a Bike Theft Czar. It should be someone making high six figures that has not ridden a bike in decades. Then, we can also get private contractors in on the action so they can bid on huge contracts and produce results that are hard to even call negligible. The money can just keep going in circles, with only the victims of bike theft never really getting a taste of the $$$.

Government in “action”.

Matthew
Guest

Frankly I hope there is a “Batman” out there that can “take things to the next level”. For reals.

wkw
Guest
wkw

Why gps every bike in town? How about a push for electronic gps bracelets for these thieves and mandatory parole officer report ins.
This year was ridiculous, with a major chop shop on the Rivergate trail, one encampment had at least 30 wheels in plain site.
Also, if the district atty’s don’t dirty their hands with this, you won’t put a dent in the crime orgy.
The police and DA have to bring resources to bear. They tuned down the transient encampments downtown, so what lessons where learned there – not all the transients were displaced, imo.

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

I hope things get better, but I’m pretty discouraged about the situation. I hear the talk but what we need is action. The mild winter means that a lot of the usual suspects never left town. I’m predicting an active summer bike theft season.

eddie
Guest
eddie

What I don’t see here are any suggestions for positive, non punitive ways to deal with the chop shop economy.

Perhaps there could be some incentive for someone to turn in a bike frame to have the serial # run, and the frame at least returned to the owner? One could get a free bike frame or be eligible to build up a bike at bike farm or CCC…

Another idea might be to start a program to stamp registry numbers on components. That way if someone is selling a “hot” component online or elsewhere it would be obviously stolen and better business to return to the owner.

There are obvious complications to the above ideas, I mean, people who run chop shops can easily file off frame serial #s and it might be a bit of a boondoggle to issue component registry #s.

But, just the same, it might be worth the effort.

thanks

eddie
Guest
eddie

One simple observation, teach people to be careful where and how they lock their bikes. I haven’t had a bike stolen in 15 years in Portland, and I’m a very prolific bike rider. I’ve accomplished this by always locking my bike in the open, in daylight, where I can check on it, and never more than a couple of hours if there’s any way a thief could get at it. Never had a problem, and I spend plenty of time downtown. Also, the “blingier” your bike looks, the more theft- prone. Just sayin…

J_R
Guest
J_R

Several years ago, I had a bike, locked with moderately heavy chain, stolen from my workplace. The bike was parked in a covered bike rack area within 30 feet of the main entrance of the building with a staffed information booth in the lobby. The theft occurred between 8am and noon.

There are two types of cyclists: those who’ve had bikes stolen and those who will.

ed
Guest
ed

You kind of diminish credibility by saying you always lock up in daylight and only where you can check often. While this my be fine for sport or hobby cyclists if you actually use your bike for transportation there’s not a solution for others in your argument. If you’re in a downtown theater do you get up from your seat every few minutes and go out to check on your bike? How about evenings at a restaurant? Do you go out after dark at all, or perhaps use your car for that?

There’s a lot to be said for carefully choosing a spot, what lock you use and how you use it – but this isn’t a true solution for many.

Naomi
Guest
Naomi

I think this is a great step in the right direction. I hope people keep in mind that there won’t be a silver bullet and all is well, but will have to be a multi-threaded approach. We need a giant brainstorming session to start!

Chris Anderson
Guest

Bait bikes seem like a good way to track down the most active thieves.

Tait
Guest
Tait

What’s the scope here? A bicycle theft task force isn’t going to solve the social inequalities that are the underlying drivers of this sort of crime, but what about public secure parking infrastructure? Is that within the purview of the task force? (How much has been spent on smart parks downtown?) Can the task force influence police patrol priorities? Even if they do, what happens to the people caught, and will it do long-term good or is this just catch-and-release? Is there enough employer and business involvement that we could lobby for less restrictions on taking a bicycle inside an office/building with you? I look forward to hearing more about what you’ve got up your sleeve.

Tom
Guest
Tom

How about a series of bike security parties. Registration booths, bike locking tip demos, security products from local bike stores, micro dots, GPS tracker information, and garage security options (such as Blink).

Later this year, some better consumer GPS trackers may be coming on the market. It may be time to lay the groundwork for a community based bait bike program whereby bike owners GPS their bike and register them as a official bait bike with the police for the fastest response. When a certain fraction of all bikes are official bait bikes, it just won’t be worth it to steal bikes anymore because the risk will be too high.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Ok…you asked us to help and challenged us..now what? How I can help the task force? What’s the plan?

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

But these bike thieves are just trying to live.

ricochet
Guest
ricochet

And that excuses theivery?

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Sarcasm?

Eric
Guest
Eric

Who wants to volunteer to go under-cover to infiltrate the bike theft underground? Your mission, should you choose to accept it, would be to find out where the source of the money is. Who is buying these bikes and where are the bikes ending up?
This mission would require you to adopt a pit bull puppy and live on the streets for several months while you gain the trust of the ring leaders. You should have some bike chopping skills so you can really get involved. Trace the source of the money and we will find our king pins. And I have a feeling its not Leroy Parsons. I would suspect some legitimate business owners are fencing the higher-end bikes.

What about geo-tracking a bait bike? Embed a GPS device inside the frame (we have plenty of frame builders that can accommodate that) that pings location and watch the bike move around and see where it ends up? Maybe a batch of 10 or 20 bikes. See where they go.

And the most effective way to reduce bike thefts of all….LOCK UP YOUR BIKE! and DONT LEAVE IT LOCKED UP OVERNIGHT ON THE STREET!

Thats all I got…..

Peter R
Guest

My once again politically incorrect (for PDX area anyways) statement. There is a direct correlation between the “housing challenged” and theft, especially the fairly lax attitude towards “camps” around here. In order to lower theft (bike, auto break-ins, burglary, etc) there needs to be some sort of effort to help these groups, remove them, or some combination of both.
Sure there are professional bike theft rings, but to deny that the homeless camps are involved in crime is sticking your head in the sand. Not all of them, I’m not going to generalize, but as others have already pointed out, there are obvious chop shops right in plain sight near the “camps”.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

I’ve learned that enforcing the law when it comes to these camps just won’t happen, because someone always gets offended by it.

The chopshops under I-5 spiraled out of control months ago. Known criminals/sex offenders worked openly there; they set up stripping work benches and concealed areas with tarps. Little was done about it until last week. Even with the chopshop camp on Madison removed, the piles of bikes and parts are already reconstituting one block north.

I don’t expect this will change, even with this new task force.

jeff
Guest
jeff

they’re already forming again under the Hawthorne. saw 2 camps with bikes there this morning. cleaning them out every 6 months isn’t going to do anything. permanent, daily enforcement.

Welsh Pete
Guest
Welsh Pete

So where do you send the people who are in these camps? You are aware that there are dozens of over-burdened agencies working on this issue everyday right? From street outreach to transitional housing, A/D programs to shelters. You can’t be that naive…

Further criminalizing homelessness is not the solution to bike theft.

Brent
Guest
Brent

As has been suggested before, I think we should strongly encourage stores from selling ineffective locking devices. I think many bike shops already do not sell cable locks, but I think the community, cities, and other public and private entities could put pressure on local big box stores like Walmart and Fred Meyer to either not sell cable locks at all or display them far away from their bike merchandise, so the casual, uninformed person doesn’t buy one thinking it’s enough. Making bike theft less easy and casual should help reduce bike theft.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Yeah some of these locks suck. But let’s not put this on the victims and steer away from the real problem.

Brent
Guest
Brent

I’m not blaming the victims for using poor locks. The real problem we are trying to solve is bike theft. If we can make bike theft harder by encouraging most locked bikes to be locked with a good lock, that will reduce bike theft.

Bike theft cannot be reduced with just one action. This is a small and relatively easy suggestion that will hopefully produce a small but real reduction in bike theft. I imagine most stores would be willing to stop selling these lock with the right amount of encouragement from the right people. I don’t think a sweeping “ban” or other government action would be necessary. I think most stores don’t want to sell bad products. Educating store owners and local sales managers is a much easier task than on-going education for every current and potential future bike rider. Not that education wouldn’t also be good, but I think my suggestion is workable now because it is relatively easy, cheap, and fast.

Bill
Guest
Bill

I recently helped my local gym cut orphaned locks and cables that were obstructing their bike racks. Of the 30+ u-locks and cables I dealt with none took longer than 10-15 seconds to cut. A good cable lock might take 5 seconds to cut, with a Kryptonite u-lock taking 10 seconds. I doubt that advocating the sale of cable locks is going to impact bike theft.

SW
Guest
SW

I’m noticing tents cropping up along SpringWater again, suspect chop shops will soon follow.

The vast majority of bikes that I see in them (albeit at 12 mph) are cheapo Target/Walmart MB’s. It appears that decent road bikes are kept intact and sold as-is.

I think the solution to stopping the theft epidemic is to stop the end of the line in the theft cycle.

Police the Craig’s ads. Investigate the shadier ones. Just 2 days ago there was an obvious one with a nice TREK roadbike , in fine shape ..for $85.

If the MB’s are being chopped for metal , where is that going ? The metal recycle places HAVE to be part of the solution. Really, if 1 one guy comes in over & over with 10 frames each time, to sell for scrap, it’s gotta set off alarms.

I once worked in a hock shop. Every buy (no matter what the price) had to be held 10 days and a ticket with the sellers ID inscribed had to be made. Police came around weekly to double check before items could be released. Require ID for metal sellers.

Get the metal recycle places involved. Take away the carrot.

Gary
Guest
Gary

Agree with dealing with the end of the line in the cycle. Someone made the well-informed observation previously that it’s highly unlikely metal scrapping is playing much of a role in the demand side, due to the very low value one would get out of a scrapped frame. Not to say they don’t get scrapped, but that’s probably a “byproduct” of the operation, rather than driving it.

Find a way to police second-hand sales. I’m not sure exactly what that is. Put the onus on buyers to check reports/registry and strictly enforce receipt/possession of stolen goods laws? I’m not sure how that would be enforced.

Chris Anderson
Guest

Want to cut bike theft in half? Introduce a Universal Basic Income: http://davidswanson.org/node/410

SW
Guest
SW

I used to stop at the flea market on Stark (just across the Gresham line).

There was one vendor with his own bike chop/rebuild shop in the back. His prices on used bikes were too good to be true.

We watched seedy/meth head appearing guys bring bikes to him and leave with cash. It pissed off the honest vendors and they complained to management to no avail. They also complained to police doing walk throughs (to find counterfeit DVD’s ?) , who were also uninterested.

Everybody has to get on board to get the thievery epidemic slowed/stopped. Even the police.

Drew
Guest
Drew

A big reason bikes are stolen is that there is rarely a secure place to park them.

When a major renovation was underway at a local supermarket, I saw the manager and asked him about putting in some dedicated bike parking. Well lit, perhaps caged, located in front where people walk by, and with spaces for cargo bikes. I got an impatient smile from him that said it would never be considered. The final result was typical. A sine wave rack off in a dark lonely corner.

I imagine a scheduled meeting with a couple of well dressed and articulate bike parking task members, especially with the support of a uniformed police officer, could produce much better results!

It’s considered normal for me to drive my truck to the store, burning a quart of gas to get a quart of milk, all enabled by “free” parking that costs the store 10s of thousands in property and maintenance. Crazy when you think about it.

Imagine a store removing 2 prime car spaces to install comprehensive secure bike parking.
I think it would take quite a bit of courage to do this for most retail outlets. This kind of forward thinking is an efficient way of attracting business, and the outlay for infrastructure would be a lot cheaper per customer.

Angel York
Guest
Angel York

What happened to the People’s Republic of Portland!!??

Universal Basic Income. Put your energy and focus into solving the problem, not the symptom. This is a red herring, guys.

Asher Atkinson
Guest
Asher Atkinson

I appreciate the recent work you’ve done drawing attention to bike thefts, applaud the creation to the bike theft task force, and agree, as you say, it’s our task force. But recently I was wrongly accused of having a stolen bike and wanted to share the story with you before rallying the vigilantes.

On Friday I had a doctor’s appointment in the medical complex by Good Samaritan. The entrance I use doesn’t have a nearby bike rack, so I locked my beloved Lemond Poprad to the court yard railing. I returned to find someone had put another lock on my bike and left a note on the back of a business card saying that I need to go see him in his office. My thought was a facilities minder was going to lecture me about where I’d parked, but the suite was a busy doctors office and the name on the business card was an RN.

I patiently stood in line for an available receptionist, then presented the card. I got an odd vibe and was told me to wait. A short time later a guy bigger than me came out, firmly shook my had, and said he needed to talk to me about my bike. We stepped into the hall and he began grilling me about where I got it and insisted it was his.

I was a little taken a back because I’m a 55 year old getting my prostate checked over lunch. I’m a professional, a don’t own a car, I ride every day, I’m a BTA member, I have a fleet of bikes, I’ve been a victim of thefts, etc. In short, the last person who would steal, or ride a stolen bike.

But I’m also a poor record keeper and began to get concerned but about what was happening. We walked out to my bike and guy said I was lying, that the bike still had his crank brother pedals, his fenders, even his bell.

When did I buy it? Where did I buy it? If I bought it new, why was it now a fixed gear?

He said he’d have to photo my drivers license and confirm my phone number by calling it before unlocking the bike to look underneath at the serial number. I complied because it didn’t want to involve the police. I flipped it over and he took a photo of the serial number tag that was fortunately still attached.

Begrudgingly, he gave up and said he’d check his records at home. As I pedaled back to work I got more troubled by the encounter and accusation, so I stopped by Bike Gallery to see if they could reproduce my receipt and with the serial number. Indeed, the printer spit out my proof from seven years ago.

Back at the office, I realized I had his number from the phone verification, so I sent him an image of the receipt with this message:

“I stopped by Bike Gallery and had them reproduce my receipt paired with the serial number. Even includes the fenders. Sorry about your theft but this should prove it is my bike and I’m the original owner. Good luck finding yours.”

And he replied:
“Ok thanks. You have way more proof than I could produce otherwise. It’s just so odd we have the same decals on identical fenders, egg beaters, bell, bontrager. … But I’ll let it go. Thanks for rolling with it. Be safe”

I pretty much laughed it off, but when I shared the story with workmates and my wife, all concluded the guy was out of line, and, at very least, his “I’ll let it go” should have been a sincere apology. And I’m still not convinced he has accepted that I’m not riding his bike.

The more I thought about it, several concerns came to mind. While I tried my best to keep the situation civil, there was definitely elevated adrenaline and testosterone in play and things could have escalated. And what if the police had gotten involved? Now even more people are wasting their time. And what if I couldn’t produce proof of ownership? Are we going to be dueling with smartphones trying to produce old photos on Flickr? Or what if I appeared less ‘respectable’ and my accuser was a doctor at the hospital? I trust the legal system teases out truth in the end, but the process can be more about hassle and intimidation.

None of this should dissuade us from confronting the problem of bike theft, but in the end most dear bikes are just a bunch of commodities bolted together and I have some qualms about moving directly at perceived thieves. Beyond prevention, it is a difficult problem to solve. My experience reinforced the basics. Keep your bike locked, and if you’ve got a fancy one, keep it insured. And if your bike gets stolen, try your best to get over it and get another. And when you do buy a new bike or parts, buy them new, or from a well vetted seller.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Somehow the consequences of getting caught have to be a deterrent. Onerous volunteer time (which they won’t do)? Jail time (expensive )? Apologizing in person to the person they stole it from and being required to listen to a lecture from the owner (unpleasant for owner too)? Future harassment as campers etc. if they have been caught doing this (yes, there actually are times when harassment is justified and called for, IMO)?

I’m struggling to see the deterrent/consequence that would have them think twice. Maybe jail time is best. Also, could an ordinance or two make it easier to prosecute?

I like the idea of bait bikes – easy way to find them. But so what if there is no consequence they fear/hate when they are caught?

Welsh Pete
Guest
Welsh Pete

I work with homeless young people and cycle to do so everyday. I have known small-time bike thieves and others who were likely a part of organized rings. I have had a bike stolen by one of them and would never excuse a theft of any kind. Its an issue that need addressing for sure but I fear this could just be another excuse for criminalizing homelessness and heavy-handed police response to people sleeping outside. I can’t offer any meaningful solutions unfortunately, other than to say that bike theft really is a small part of giant problem and perhaps should be considered in this context before we go in guns-blazing.

Welsh Pete
Guest
Welsh Pete

Good to hear and thanks for the response. I was reading through some of the commentary on all the bike-theft stories and was a tad concerned by some of the reaction but perhaps should not have equated that with the ‘Task-force’s’ intent.

Welsh Pete
Guest
Welsh Pete

Last thing on this… You say this coalition is a ‘huge addition to the existing coalitions and social services…’ Have the four agencies that make up Portland’s the Homeless Youth Continuum been included in any of this yet?

Heather
Guest
Heather

I’d like to request an update on the Bicycle Theft Task Force. As the proud new owner of a ridiculously expensive bike (for me, at least), this issue is constantly on my mind. I say a little prayer every time I lock up my bike at a bike rack…and breathe a sincere sigh of relief when I find it where I left it. Even in my own locked garage…I think I’m going to develop an ulcer.