BART police had some welcome news for Bay Area cyclists this week: An undercover sting led to the arrest of an alleged thief in possession of ten bikes and more than 100 bike parts. It’s a nice follow-up to the SFPD’s arrest last July of a thief who had 114 stolen bicycles.
Stories of successful bike theft crackdowns in San Francisco aren’t common, but it’s promising to hear that local law enforcement officials are directing resources to address the problem, since the perceived low risk of stealing bikes is what makes bicycles such an appealing target for thieves.
As Streetsblog New York City relayed last August, the Priceonomics Blog looked at why bike theft is so prevalent, even when “it seems as if stealing bikes shouldn’t be a lucrative form of criminal activity.” The conclusion? Bike thieves are rarely caught, and even if they are, they rarely face jail time, and that’s what draws them to the business.
A 2007 estimate of SF bike theft put the citywide number at 2,000 to 3,000 bikes per year. In the Mission, an average of 60 bikes are stolen every month, officers said at a workshop on bike theft prevention held by the SFPD last week, according to SF Weekly.