Bike theft has the attention of a San Francisco Supervisor; hearing Thursday morning

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar commissioned the county Budget & Legislative Analyst office to study the impact of bike theft in San Francisco. His office scheduled a hearing on the problem of bike theft for tomorrow morning, Thursday, July 18 2013, 10 AM at City Hall, room 250. Representatives from the San Francisco Department of Public Works, San Francisco police, and other agencies will be on-hand to discuss what has been done and hear about ideas for ways to reduce bike theft. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition asks members of the public to share their stories and show support for increased efforts to reduce theft.

Some factoids from the analyst report:

  • SFMTA estimates 3.5% of all trips are made by bicycle in 2011, a 75% increase over the year 2000.
  • From 2006 to 2012, bicycle thefts have increased by over 70%, or about the same as the increase in bike trips over the same time period.
  • The report points out bike thefts are significantly under-reported because victims of bicycle theft assume that little can be done by police departments to recover their bicycles. Research suggests only one in five bike thefts are reported, so an estimated 4,000 bikes were stolen in San Francisco in 2012.
  • Only 16.4 percent of the total recovered bicycles booked by SFPD in 2012 were released to an owner. The low return rate is primarily due to the inability of SFPD to reconnect bicycles with their owners because many bicycle owners do not have their serial number or other means of identifying their bicycle or, asis often the case, the bicycle’s owner does not attempt to recover their bicycle from SFPD at all.

The report makes these suggestions for the SF Board of Supervisors to consider to reduce bike theft:

  • Implement a bike registration program for the city of San Francisco, either voluntary or mandatory.
  • Centralize SFPD bike theft data keeping to better analyze the problem.
  • Bike baiting operations to catch thieves.
  • Increase bike locking education.
  • More open source information about bike thefts, with maps showing problem spots (for example).
  • Citywide website showing stolen bikes in the property warehouse, similar to what the Mission and Park stations already have.
  • Create a bicycle theft unit in the SFPD, with two full time officers, a sergeant and a clerk.

These are all just recommendations for the Board of Supervisors to consider. If you’d like the supervisors to consider and act on these suggestions, show up if you can to the hearing at City Hall, or write to your District Supervisor.

More information:

Sorry for the late word on this, and a huge tip of the hat to Jenny Oh for her efforts to bring the problem of bike theft to the forefront.

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