Despite a recent decrease in bicycle thefts, Mission Police Captain Robert Moser and officers have teamed up with nonprofits and bicycle stores to educate riders on how to prevent theft. The police station will host a bicycle safety workshop Thursday evening.
Moser, who took over as captain of the Mission police station in mid-January, has been pushing to increase resources and staff in the fight against bike theft since he started working in the neighborhood.
“It is very important to me,” he said. “It is an area where we can work on both enforcement and education of the citizens.”
The numbers indicate a slow but steady decline in bike thefts in recent months.
According to Mission police statistics, 112 bikes have been stolen since the start of 2012, with a 12 percent decrease in thefts between January and February.
As of March 27, only 21 bikes have been stolen this month.
Moser is happy about the decrease, but it’s not enough, he said.
By partnering with the San Francisco Bike Coalition, the Valencia Cyclery shop and the National Bike Registry, Moser hopes to raise awareness on how to prevent more bike-related crimes.
Most people know to lock their bicycles when parking outside, said Galen, an employee at Valencia Cyclery, but it doesn’t seem as obvious to do the same when parking inside a garage or a building.
“People are becoming more aware of how to properly lock their bike outdoors, so it is becoming more common for thieves to actually go inside buildings and houses and take the bicycles there, where people usually do not lock them,” Galen said.
Mission Bicycle employee Kai contends that bike thefts can also result from cyclists’ common misconceptions.
“Many think that bike thieves are only after ‘nice’ bikes,’” he said. “That is not true. They systematically go for what is easiest to steal.”
Choosing a good lock can also help prevent bicycle theft.
“One very common theft scenario occurs when people lock their bikes with cheap cable locks, which is almost no better than tying it with a piece of rope,” said Kai.
Most retailers recommend either a strong U-lock or a combination of the latter with a chain lock in order to secure both wheels to the frame.
Andy Reed of Box Dog Bikes on 14th Street suggests that users choose carefully where to leave their bikes.
“Users should lock their bikes exclusively in places that are not movable, such as park meters or actual bike racks,” he said.
Trees or scaffolding can be removed if thieves are set on stealing a particular bike.
At Thursday’s meeting, police will also be encouraging riders to register with the National Bike Registry. For a $10 fee, riders can add their bicycle to a database. If officers find a stolen bicycle, they can check the registry and return it to the owner.
Moser said this has proven useful in the Mission. In addition, Mission police station has created a web page with pictures of stolen bicycles, where people interested in buying a used bike can check first to make sure it hasn’t been stolen.
“It makes it a lot easier for owners to retrieve their stolen bikes,” Moser said.
Mission officers will host a workshop on bicycle safety with the collaboration of local retailers, the San Francisco Bike Coalition and the National Bike Registry at 6 p.m. this evening in the community room at the Mission Station.