Bay Area bicycle thefts increase

Increasing bike theft rates call for education on the protection of bicycles


Gabby Tirsell

The correct way to lock up a bicycle is to wrap the chain through the frame.

Gabby Tirsell, Staff Writer

Bicycle theft in the Bay Area is becoming more common with incidents occurring almost every day. Still, people do not know how to prevent and report a bike theft correctly.

Sergeant Dan Smith of the Redwood City Police said, “There’s actually thefts all over the Bay Area. We find bicycles all the time, and we run the serial number, and it comes back no record.”

With the rate of bicycle theft rising, the police share vital information on protecting possessions. 

According to Smith, when trying to prevent a bike theft, “the best way is to lock the bike up to a secure object with a very sturdy bike lock, like one of those U-locks or a heavy chain lock.”

Also, another good preventative measure against bike theft is wrapping the lock around the frame of the bike and not the spokes of the wheel or handlebars.

If a bicycle is stolen, the serial number is the most helpful characteristic to include in a theft report. The serial number is usually located on the bottom of the crankshaft, the metal gear that connects the pedal to the chain and the rest 0f the gears, underneath the frame. The serial number is engraved into the frame so it cannot be scratched off, according to the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition

Smith said, “For example, if someone knew the brand of their bicycle and serial number, they could report it to the police. We would log that information into our stolen property system. If our officers came across the stolen bike and ran the serial number, it would come back to the victim.”

Bay Area resident and high school senior, Tori Davis, had her bicycle stolen from her house when she was in the second grade.

Davis said, “I reported it, hung up posters, and never got it back. I was in second grade, and I used to wrap the lock around my handlebars. Now, I’m locking it around the frame.”

Another way to help police identify a stolen bicycle is to engrave initials or numbers on the frame.

Smith said, “We tell people to engrave their driver’s license number on valuable property. We can run that and return it to the victim.”

All of these strategies increase the odds of having a bicycle returned after being stolen. According to the Redwood City Police, people need to take more precaution to combat the ever-growing bicycle theft rates in the Bay Area.