It’s no real secret. Stuff here in Honolulu gets stolen. A lot. I can think of several stories off hand from people who’ve had slippers taken, laptops, iPhones even mopeds seem to go missing, and not from casual misplacement. Someone takes them. I haven’t had to deal with this yet, but it feels like an inevitability.
It was a real concern when I bought my bike a few weeks ago was. Because it’s a fixie (one of the more popular bike styles out there at the moment), it’s all white and the front tire can easily be removed it’s sufficient to say that there’s a market for such a cool-looking cycle. Even the guy who sold it to me said to invest in a good lock. “Someone’s going to want it,” he said.
I’m already paranoid about making sure to lock my car wherever I go, despite the fact that it looks like a piece of crap. I’ve been conditioned to think that unless it’s nailed down, someone is going to walk off with it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bike or a pair of slippers, there’s always some low life who feels the urge to take your stuff.
So, I invested about $30 in a good U-lock that came with a thick cable to wrap around poles, bike racks or whatever. No one is getting this bike without a fight!
Thus far, I haven’t had any problems; but I can remember troubling tales from friends in which they would be walking out to their bikes or mopeds and find someone gingerly sawing away at their locks to steal their stuff. Could you imagine? Coming face to face with someone trying to blatantly steal from you? What idiot thinks that’s a perfectly acceptable way to participate in society? Bah! Thieves bother me, if you can’t tell already.
My fears have been fortified after looking at the most recent Honolulu Police Department annual reports from 2008 through 2011 (2012 isn’t available yet and 2008 is the earliest one I could find on HPDs website). It looks like crime and theft over all is going down, but bicycle theft is up. Way up. It went from about 522 reported thefts in 2008 to 1,077 in 2011. That’s a 106 percent increase over a span of four years (check my awesome graph for more details). I don’t even know what last year’s results were, but I’m scared to find out.
Even when you look at car theft you can see it dip in recent years, but not bike theft. What makes bikes more attractive to thieves these days? I’m not blaming our guys in blue for a high bike theft rate – I blame criminals for that. But, is there a general plan or thought process behind these numbers? What are the plans to reduce bike theft? Is HPD doing anything about it? Does anyone really care?
Anyone have any stories about a theft that bothered them enough to call the cops? What was the result of your struggle? Did you get your stuff back? Let’s get a discussion started people!