Saturday, August 18, 2007

Your bike is worth $20

Bike thieves suck. They are the bane of my existence. Fortunately I am a policeman and have been so for 25 years. I post a link on the Santa Cruz Police Department web site (Bikes Found/Stolen) to show both stolen bicycles and those we recover. The sad part is we return very few bikes. Since your average bike owner can’t even find the serial number on their bike most of the recoveries I make come through comparing sparse descriptors to the bikes tweakers were riding when they were arrested. BTW your bike is worth $20. That is the amount of dope most drug attics get no matter what the quality of your bike is. That’s why I suggest you get to know your bike. Find the serial number and write it down; don’t rely on your LBS to write it down for you. Of the three bikes I bought new, twice the serial number was written down wrong. Also, make sure you can read the serial number. Many times it is painted over and illegible; use an engraver and dig out the paint. Treat it like you’d be really heartbroken if someone stole it. Don’t leave your bike sitting locked at a bus stop or outside bike rack for hours. I don’t care if it’s locked or not; eventually someone will steal it. All locks can be defeated. And if the thief can’t defeat the lock, he’ll just cut the frame and take the bike for parts. I do find solace in the fact that if a drug addict if caught on a stolen bike they will become ineligible for Prop 36. Finally, be paranoid! Assume that every time you park and/or lock your bike, someone is planning on trying to steal it; because they probably are.

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