The Story of Sholom’s Stolen Bike

Sholom.jpgSholom and his beloved bike

Midwood residents beware: a bike thief is on the loose! Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn Committee member Sholom has a heartening and illuminating tale of the recent theft and recovery of his bicycle near the Kings Highway subway station. With the aid of the police, his laptop, a local restaurant owner, and a volunteer community safety patrol called Shomrim, he was able to recover his bike and spread news of the culprit. From Sholom, here are some theft prevention tips:

Bike owners should register their bike: I was fortunate to have a picture that proved that this was my bike. Without it, I would have no way of recovering it even if the Police had recovered it for me. If you own a bike, call your local precinct and arrange for a meeting with the crime prevention officer so that you can get your bike registered. In that case, if it is recovered, you have proof that it is yours.

Don’t just give up: So many bike thefts go unreported. People feel that they will never get it back and just give up immediately. Instead of giving up, you should report it to the Police and check your local craigslist. Many precincts have many bikes that are recovered, but have no owner. If your bike is recovered, you should have a chance of getting it back. Even if it’s not recovered, at least it will be recorded in the stats. The higher the number of thefts reported, the more attention it will get from the NYPD.

Lock your bike in public places: Locking it in a public place with many people can help ensure it’s there when you get back: A thief may be wearier to steal a bike that is locked up in Times Square (where he/she has the chance of being noticed) than on a private quieter street. When I travel anywhere by bike, I am sure to find the busiest street in the area to lock up my bike. 

Read the whole story on TA Brooklyn’s blog. In other news: Inwood & Washington Heights Livable Streets needs letters of support this weekend from area businesses in favor of a Dyckman Street Greenway connector; PA Bikes & Walks brings news of an exciting multi-use trail network that would create 1,400 jobs; and Bicycles Only has added more great tips to the ever-growing StreetsWiki article on Urban Bicycling With Children.

  • It is certainly great that you recovered your bike and your story is great, but disagree with your parking in busy areas. In busy crowded areas a thief is more likely to go unnoticed. On quiet streets a thief stands out that much more. See Hal’s great Bike locking videos where he addresses this very point. Anyone who has every been on a quiet residential block sees people sitting on stoops and watching everything.

    Also there are some great web resources such as twitter and communities all about finding lost bikes.

  • Streetsman

    Yeah I disagree about locking up in busy places as a rule. i think the corner of Broadway and Houston is one of the highest theft locations areas in the city. i think a lot of thieves can use the stream of people to disguise what they are doing. I think the best place to lock is right in front of a quiet place that has eyes watching it like a sidewalk or windowfront cafe, in a visible place in front of a vigilant shop owner, or maybe a rack in front of a building with a security camera.

  • Financial district employee checkin in’, petrified about locking my bike up outdoors. I would be absolutely devastated if my horse were stolen; I use two orange Kryptonites, one for the rear-and-frame and one for the front-and-frame.

    I park it in a fairly public place with cops and security cameras all around, but I do not trust that a man with a drill will be stopped by police, or by any private security.

    Didn’t have these problems before the no-bikes-in-buildings bill led Jeffries Morris to change their bikefriendly policy out of spite and retribution.

    I would gladly pay a parking garage a per diem to keep my stuff under lock and key, but none of them offer the service.

  • Kaja, do you have apartment insurance?

  • BicyclesOnly

    The problem with most or all homeowner’s policies is that they have deductibles (often $500 or more) that may equal or exceed the value of the bike. But when valuing the loss in deciding whether to. make the claim, remember to aggregate the value of all accessories (including security equipment and upgraded parts) lost in the theft. The adjuster may want to see receipts for all of this so save them; but if you failed to save them, your local bike shop may be able to generate replacements. And if you have lost two or more bikes locked up together stolen at the same time, you may be able to aggregate the mutiple thefts as a “single occurence”that rises above the deductible. While a claim only modestly in excess of the deductible may not be worth the trouble, a policyholder has every right to make a claim of a few hundred dollars against a homeowners policy with annual premiums of the same amount, and in my experience with two leading insurers in the homeowner’s market (including the biggest, Travelers), I have never had a premium increase follow on the heels of a bike theft claim.

  • Not that one precludes the other but, having identifying photos of your bike with you, on your laptop/iPod/phone, might be better than actually registering the bike with police.

    I registered my bike several years ago with the 20th Pct. Not because I live in the 20th but because they were the precinct offering this service at a pre-Bike Month event. Does anyone know if the police actually do anything with this information other than etch a number on the frame and issue a certificate?

  • Richard Lee

    Great news on the recovery! Not too sure what lock type was used (& failed). But suspect it may have been a cable or cheap u-lock. Would like to suggest use of case-hardened security chain and monobloc lock in the future; about 35 bucks off the net. Most perps are looking for an easy mark and will gladly pass on having to chop thru case-hardened chain. (Also easy to carry when wrapped around the seat post.)

  • Capn’n Transit & Bicycles Only, after reading your comments I checked with my insurer about my deductible. The representative said that for homeowner’s policies, the typical deductible is $1,000, but for renter’s insurance, it’s $250 but could be lower. My policy has a $100 deductible and costs $70 annually.


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