Bike theft has been crazy so far this spring. Or at least it seems that way.
Seattle Police received 581 stolen bike reports January through May, according to police report data at data.seattle.gov. But though that is a ton of bikes, that’s actually fewer than the 809 reports during the same period in 2014.
But perhaps what has changed most is the growing influence of Bike Index in helping to spread the work about thefts and, sometimes, help reconnect people with their stolen rides. In fact, comparing the SPD stolen bikes data with Bike Index reports shows that word has spread far and wide. A huge percentage of Seattle bike theft victims are using their service (you can also access Bike Index through our Stolen Bikes page).
It’s also cool to see Bike Index partnering with BikeWise, a bike theft and crash reporting website started years ago by Cascade Bicycle Club and Phil Mitchell. Bike Index’s database is open to developers in case you have an idea for how to spread their listings even further.
We told you last month about an awesome recovery, involving a disco ball helmet, costumed birthday bike ride and a hero named Alex Cruse who spotted a stranger’s stolen bike after seeing it listed on Bike Index. Well, that great story is just one of many recently, and Bryan Hance at Bike Index has been tracking those great recovery stories in somewhat weekly updates.
King County Sheriff officers deserve special credit for a series of recoveries recently, as documented on Twitter:
— Bunny (@tallnoe) May 27, 2015
2nd bike recovered in 2 weeks! Good job Deputies Gaiser and Nix! pic.twitter.com/0OPj9u5KoD
— Five-O (@FiveO15) June 2, 2015
While Craigslist has long been the medium of choice for moving stolen bikes, many stolen bikes in the Seattle area have been turning up on a Bellevue-based classifieds website called Offerup recently. So add that site to your list of places to look if your wheels get stolen. Hopefully they will do what Craigslist refuses to do and take action to fight stolen bike sales on their site (requiring sellers to post serial numbers and running checks with Bike Index would be a start!).
By the way, did you know you can donate to help keep Bike Index going? It’s a very valuable service run by just a couple people passionate about stopping bike theft. If you have some cash to contribute to the cause, kick it their way.
So where are bike thefts happening? Sadly, kind of everywhere. But the center city and north/northwest Seattle are getting hit hardest it seems, while northeast and Rainier Valley are getting a relative pass. Here’s an interactive map of data from January 1 — June 10: