I asked the police to run the numbers on where bikes are being stolen in Portland. As I reported two months ago, Portlanders reported 2,300 bikes stolen in the past two years. But where are they being taken from?
Here's the breakdown, courtesy of the Portland Police East Precinct.
More neighborhoods—and findings about how NOT to get your bike stolen—below the cut.
What's interesting is that when you crunch the numbers, reports of bike theft are actually steadily decreasing citywide. In 2005, police took 1,301 stolen bike reports. In 2007, they took 1,151. Last year, they took 1,037.
I'm skeptical that this means less bikes are actually getting stolen, since bike ridership has increased 180 percent since 2000. What gives? It's important to note that REPORTS of stealing are down, so that could mean that Portlanders are just giving up on reporting their stolen bikes to police. But maybe bike shops are being more scrupulous now about how they buy bikes (we saw that with the Recyclery) which could maybe cut into the market for stolen bikes.
The biggest advice crime researchers have to keep your bike from getting stolen? Not too surprising: lock your bike and lock it well. That means use a heavy lock that can't be cut easily and also lock parts of your bike that someone couldn't just walk up, do some simple unscrewing or unclicking and walk off with your frame. A 1991 study from University of Wisconsin, for example, revealed that in 22 percent of cycle thefts, only the lock and secured wheel remained at the crime scene. A well-locked wheel is the gravestone of the stolen bike.