Bike thefts in San Diego skyrocket

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The criminal cut one of the metal bars of the fence, slid the U-lock and the bicycle simultaneously.

Bryan Hance, co-founder of BikeIndex.org, said the increase in the number of stolen bikes reported in San Diego “is sort of tied to the story of covid.

“In 2020, 243 stolen bikes were reported to us, and ten were recovered,” he continued, “then, in 2021, 332 stolen bikes were reported to us, and that was only in October; 14 have been reported recovered. These are our internal numbers. Showing results for a 25 mile radius around San Diego. “

Bryan Hance: “OfferUp is a cesspool full of stolen goods.

The nonprofit organization’s website and app launched by Hance and Seth Herr in 2013 now contains more than 688,000 bikes cataloged around the world, tens of thousands of searches daily, and approximately 1,250 community partners.

“The [reported amount of bikes] stolen in San Diego is a vast underreport, “Hance told me on Oct. 2,” and that’s because we didn’t put much effort into bringing the stores, the cops, and the bike groups in San Diego to use Bike Index like we did. elsewhere. Lately, Hance has been proactive with some of the 1,900 members on the Stolen bike in San Diego (SBSD) Facebook page. On October 3, Hance posted a photo to the Facebook page and then captioned it: “Not mine, but the post because it should stand out in nature. Stolen: Rivendell Betty Foy, series [number] unknown … your daily reminder to save your streaks. ”

The navy-colored women’s bike Hance posted on was would have released in 2009 and sold for over $ 2,200 new.

“UPDATE: It was seen an hour ago heading south on Florida Avenue from University Avenue in North Park, towards Balboa Park,” the bike owner replied shortly after posting online. Hance. “He has two flat tires.”

Increase in stolen bikes, according to Hance website

Then on September 21, near where someone lifted Betty Foy’s bike, a $ 1,500 bike was spotted attached to a wrought iron fence with a anti-theft device. This time, the criminal cut one of the metal bars of the fence, simultaneously slipped the U-lock and the bicycle, and pulled the bicycle out of the closed compound. Someone “posted the bike on Offer Up about six hours ago,” the victim said on the SBSD forum. “I have texted the seller, but I’m afraid he’ll recognize me by locking up my apartment. If anyone can help me, please send me a private message.”

The victim informed SBSD subscribers shortly after, claiming that the San Diego Police Department had accompanied her to meet the seller. “The guy said he [initially] bought my bike on OfferUp for $ 200 and had “no idea” that my bike had been stolen, even though he had advertised the bike for $ 1,800. I proved it was mine when I recited the serial number from memory. “

“OfferUp is a cesspool full of stolen goods run by a company that doesn’t care that it’s a cesspool full of stolen goods,” Hance said. “They are the biggest problem we face in every city and state right now.”

Jay S. is an avid Chula Vista cyclist. He has been selling on OfferUp for four years and has over 75 perfect five-star ratings based on items as described, user-friendly, punctual, communicative and reliable.

The overall value and need for bikes has exploded.

To sell: “First, I upload a photo of the bike, find the category, and add a description and price. Now there is an option to ship it, which I never use. Then I post it and wait. To buy: “They click on the bike, then there are two buttons that say something like ‘Buy it now’ or ‘ask questions’. The main question reads: “Is this available?” “”

Jay said he needs to click “Sold” on the interface to freely communicate physical addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers with the potential buyer.

“If you don’t click ‘sold’ and try to send addresses, phone numbers, and email information, the bot will step in, delete the message, and replace it with a ‘message deleted for protection’ pop-up. So basically you have to click “sold” to go ahead. They want you to buy and sell with their protocol in place, to protect us. To be honest, OfferUp is popular because it’s free, at no cost. , and [the interface] is easy to learn. ”(Sellers have the option of paying a fee on the interface to be higher on searches.)

OfferUp, the self-proclaimed “largest mobile market in the United States”, states that “any item that is illegal or that encourages illegal activity is not allowed. [This is] including, but not limited to: stolen or found good[s] …. There is a page on the site titled “How to Report an Item” followed by “View an item that you think shouldn’t be on OfferUp? Report it. “

But Hance says victims, who registered their stolen bikes on his website, have repeatedly reported sellers to the site with stolen goods, and the same sellers “continue to have an active OfferUp profile.” Cyclists on the Reddit website from all over the United States have shared similar stories.

Jay says OfferUp has been good to him. “Even with the flakes I’m fine. Although I sympathize with bike theft victims and give them a tip: on sales apps and websites, look in other areas like ‘Collectibles and art ”under“ Antiques ”or“ General ”, because I see bikes intentionally listed in the wrong categories.”

Hance and Jay heard of another bicycle accident and theft “at Tecolote Canyon” near Interstates 52 and I-5. The incident was posted on the SBSD Facebook page but was later deleted; it was also posted on GoFundMe.com by Adam Palmisano on September 15. “Gabriel went biking with a couple [of] a few days ago on a trail in San Diego. He just bought the bike the day before and was extremely excited to get out and ride it, but then crashed his bike and became unconscious and is in hospital right now. He didn’t wake up[en] until now. Someone found him completely unconscious for an undetermined period of time, and his bike was missing. Please help him and his family recover and hopefully pay the medical bills later, please. By the goodness of your heart, help this family [as] she is the hardest working person I know and the only one who can provide for her family. He is a loving father of three children. “

On September 24th, I contacted Palmisano on Facebook for an update, and he replied with only: “[His] bike was actually found at the police station last Wednesday. “

“These thieves are always the ones we want to pursue,” Hance said, “that is, when bikes are taken while the cyclist was unconscious or had to leave in an ambulance. There is nothing less than stealing a bicycle from someone who just got caught in an ambulance. “

In 2019, Hance said there were 120 stolen bikes reported at his San Diego site, and only two were recovered. In 2020, as I mentioned earlier, the number of recorded stolen bikes in San Diego jumped to 243 with ten recoveries.

“When it comes to these huge increases that we have seen from 2020, we attribute to four factors,” Hance explains. “One, a lot of deprioritization of petty crimes by law enforcement, due to covid restrictions, staff cuts, etc. Two, the massive increase in sales of online platforms like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace to close stolen goods. Three, the general economic problems caused by the covid which has exacerbated crimes like theft. And four, the overall value and need for bicycles has exploded, so bicycles are simply worth more in the general and secondary markets.

Hance ultimately links the increase in bicycle theft to covid. “Remember how every bike shop sold in early 2020 because people were stuck at home and no one ever wanted to, say, get on a public bus again? And then there was all the supply chain issues so stores can’t buy bikes or It blew up the bike resale market, and all these thieves have nice, convenient and anonymous online platforms like OfferUp to offload all of their stolen goods safely, so the whole equation meant that more bikes were being stolen. that were being stolen and resold were now worth more. “


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