Bike Thefts Are Up 27% in Pandemic NYC: 'Sleep With It Next To You'
As more people are buying bikes, more bikes are being swiped from sidewalks, garages and basements. Locks are not always a deterrent.
By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura
One of the more unexpected side effects of the pandemic has been a surge in cycling, fueled by people avoiding trains and buses and seeking a way to stay in shape. That triggered an extreme shortage of bicycles. Then came the thieves.
Bikes are being plundered from sidewalks, garages and apartment building basements in rising numbers in New York and across the country. Similar spikes in thefts have also been recorded abroad, including in Britain and France.
No one, it seems, is immune.
A father recently posted a sign on a Brooklyn street to publicly shame the thief who stole the bike his 10-year-old son got for his birthday. A bike along with the railing it was locked to was stolen from a Brooklyn apartment building. In the Bronx, a 15-year-old boy riding a bike was attacked by eight men who stole his cycle.
“When you buy a bike you just hope that you hold onto it for as long as you can,” said Jacob Priley, 29, explaining how he had two bikes stolen, one after the other.
The first was at a protest against police brutality in Brooklyn where he said he was arrested after being out past a curfew and left his bike on the street. He replaced it with an electric mountain bike costing about $800. That one was stolen, too, after he left it overnight in the street, albeit locked.
While locks are obviously a good idea, many are no match for the electric saws that thieves commonly use.
“Every lock — you can break it,’’ said Sty Gonzalez, who works at Trek Bicycle shop in Manhattan. “The stronger ones just buy you more time.”