By Paul Bisceglio
Bike theft numbers are in, and they aren’t good. NYPD announced this week that it has seen a 25 percent increase in thefts across the city this year.
So far, 1,694 bikes have been reported stolen in 2012. New Yorkers documented 1,346 thefts by August last year.
Are thieves getting smarter? Are cyclists getting lazier? According to AM New York, police say they are not sure what to attribute the apparent rise in thefts to — if any one thing at all.
Thefts have spiked particularly in Williamsburg, but CB1 Transportation Committee member Ryan Kuonen thinks this is mostly because more people are reporting them. “To say there were only 24 thefts [last year] is a laugh,” he told DNAinfo. “To say there are 100, yeah, that makes sense.”
The simplest explanation may be that there are just more bicycles on the roads. Bicycle commuters have more than doubled since the city added over 250 miles of bike lanes in 2007, so thieves now have at least 19,000 potential targets.
The increase in thefts “points to a lag in the infrastructure meeting the growth of bicycling in New York,” Michael Murphy of Transportation Alternatives told AM New York. “More New Yorkers biking means more places to secure bikes are needed.”
NYPD, bicycle shop owners and bike advocacy groups are now especially emphasizing the importance of secure, heavy locks and bicycle registration. Most owners never retrieve a stolen bike — though, with a little luck and persistence, there’s always the chance you can get the police to help you set up your own small sting operation.
The silver lining? NYPD also reported that car thefts are down 10 percent.
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