Economic theory of bike theft

Low return on investment, but zero risk of punishment means big incentive to steal bikes.

Maybe stuff we already know, but interesting nonetheless:

Risk Reward chart - economics of bike theft

Using this risk-return framework for crime, it begins to be clear why there is so much bike theft. For all practical purposes, stealing a bike is risk-free crime. It turns out there is a near zero chance you will be caught stealing a bike.

It’s dead simple to steal a bike and the consequences are near zero. You can resell stolen bikes.

More at Pricenomics –> What Happens to Stolen Bicycles?


  • David Crowell
    August 29, 2012 - 7:17 am | Permalink

    So, glue an iPhone to your bike and the risk goes up?

  • August 29, 2012 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Risk remains about the same. See Jenny’s story from yesterday. You get caught and… so what? DA won’t prosecute, right?

  • August 30, 2012 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    so putting a taser in the seat is the only way to go…

  • August 30, 2012 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    And I guess you only forget to disarm it once.

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