Widespread bike thefts part of daily life in The City 

About one bicycle per day is reported stolen to San Francisco police — a figure that does not account for the many more thefts that go unreported.

The Examiner obtained Police Department figures showing 155 bicycles were reported stolen between Jan. 1 and May 31, with the most, 30, missing from the Mission district, followed by 19 in the South of Market neighborhood and nine in the Upper Market and Castro area.

However, bicycle advocates say there are plenty more stolen that police never hear about, since the victims often believe it’s a lost cause. The manager of a Mike’s Bikes in The City said he hears customers complain of stolen bikes or parts “pretty much every day.”

“And that’s just one bike shop,” said Renée Rivera, acting executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

That the Mission district led The City in reported bike thefts doesn’t surprise Timmy Bailey, the sales manager at Valencia Cyclery. The neighborhood has a high concentration of cyclists with “nicely built bicycles” and thieves are well aware of that, Bailey said.

The bicycles being nabbed are not often those locked up on city sidewalks, he said, citing customer reports.

“The vast majority say [the bike has] been taken from their property,” Bailey said, “from inside a garage that was left open or a gate left unlocked.”

The theft reports come to light as the Police Department prepares to test new high-tech devices geared toward nabbing bike thieves. The devices are transponders that allow electronic tracking by police and will be hidden on decoy bicycles positioned to be stolen.


Popular avenues for thieves

Bike thefts reported to police between Jan. 1 and May 31 (however, police and bike advocates claim it’s only a fraction of the actual number of stolen bicycles annually since so many go unreported):

- Mission (30)
- South of Market (19)
- Upper Market-Castro (9)
- Fisherman’s Wharf (7)
- Mission Bay (7)
- South Beach (7)
- Financial District (6)
- Hayes Valley (6)
- Nob Hill (6)
- Richmond (6)
- Tenderloin (6)
- Ocean View-Ingleside (5)
- Upper Noe Valley (4)
- Van Ness corridor (4)
- Chinatown (3)
- Golden Gate Park (3)
- Japantown (3)
- Lone Mountain (3)
- Marina (3)
- Bayview-Hunters Point (2)
- Potrero Hill (2)
- Russian Hill (2)
- Western Addition (1)
- West of Twin Peaks (1)
- Sunset (1)
- Pacific Heights (1)
- Haight-Ashbury (1)
- Excelsior (1)
- Diamond Heights (1)
- Bernal Heights (1)
Total reported thefts: 155

Note: Neighborhood unknown on four theft reports       

Source: San Francisco Police Department

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