A bicycle is stolen every hour in Seattle, and the problem is getting worse fast

Seattle has a serious bicycle theft problem.

According to statistics provided by the Seattle Police Department,  more than 1,543 bikes were reported as stolen in Seattle in 2015. That’s one every six hours. But the problem actually goes largely unreported and is much bigger.

In comparing national datasets between reported bike thefts tabulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a national survey of crime by the U.S. Department of Justice, for every one bike reported as stolen, five are go unreported to police.  If that national statistic holds true for Seattle, that’s 25 bikes stolen every day in Seattle, or more than one every hour.

What’s even more worrisome is that the incidence of bicycle theft is rising rapidly: 216.4% in the last eight years, with an average annual increase of 18.3%.

BikeTheftByYearNationally2

 

Not only is bike theft accelerating, it’s the fastest growing larceny crime in Seattle.

LarcenyCrimesInSeattle

In 2008, bike theft accounted for just 3.9 percent of larceny crimes in Seattle (excluding car prowls). In 2015, bike theft accounted for 11.4 percent. That is a tripling of the bike theft problem relative to other larceny crimes in Seattle.

This amount of bike theft is completely unacceptable.  While most people will eventually buy another bike, there are some people who will not be able to financially purchase another one. Other people will be so turned off from the experience that they will never buy another bike.  A Montreal survey conducted by researchers at McGill University found that 7% of people who had their bike stolen never bought a new one.

In tomorrow’s blog post, we’ll discuss what Bicycle Security Advocates is doing to address Seattle’s bike theft epidemic.

3 Responses to “A bicycle is stolen every hour in Seattle, and the problem is getting worse fast

  • One bike is stolen every three hours in San Francisco and most of them are never recovered because they’re being taken apart quickly in chop shops.

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