How can Seattle crack down on bike thefts? | KUOW News and Information

How can Seattle crack down on bike thefts?

May 16, 2017

When bikes are stolen, there’s no easy systematic way of keeping track. If they are found, returning them to the owner can be difficult.

Just ask ­­­­Christopher Schumaker, a bicycle deliveryman.


“There were two bikes outside of the house I was living at. They both got taken. Someone said, ‘Hey. You know, you might want to check Craigslist.’ And I did. The bike was on there. So we actually went up and met with the guy. First, he tried to run away. We chased him and then he went and got the bikes from his house.” 

Nearly 4,000 bikes were reported stolen to the Seattle Police Department between 2014 and 2016.

That’s according to Brock Howell of Bicycle Security Advocates, a group that advises people on bike protection issues.

Howell had a few suggestions on what Seattle City Council can do to prevent bike thefts.

“One is to require sites like Craigslist and OfferUp to at least include a field for sellers to voluntarily list a bike’s serial number to be able to track it back.” 

He also recommends registering bicycles through Bike Index, a non-profit bike registry that stores a bike’s serial number into a database making it easier to locate later on.

Other potential solutions?

Coordinating with police to improve bike theft investigations, funding a public education campaign on bike security, and chip tracking technology.

City Councilmember Mike O’ Brien says he hopes to continue this conversation on how to better implement these ideas in the coming weeks.