In the wake of those events, I submitted two records requests. The first was for a copy of the police report I filed, and the second was for essential data about bicycle thefts in Boise over the last five years. That data I offer below.
Between January 2013 and Aug. 8, 2018, a total of 3,310 bikes were reported stolen in 3,057 separate reports submitted to the Boise Police Department. The most reports—621—were filed in 2013, and since then, the number of reports has fluctuated between the low 500s and 593.
Those missing bicycles have proven to be notoriously difficult to reunite with their rightful owners. Of the 3,310 bikes reported stolen, just 578, or 17.5 percent, were recovered. In August 2017, the BPD began a partnership with Bike Index, a third-party platform that allows people to create social media-style profiles for their bikes. According to its website, the service has nearly 180,000 catalogued bikes in 450 communities, and has helped recover almost 5,000 bikes since 2013.
My own bike, a Surly Cross-Check, retails for more than $1,000, which is the minimum dollar value to qualify as grand theft. In the State of Idaho, a conviction of grand theft carries with it a $1,000-$20,000 fine or 1-20 years in prison. Since 2013, 405 bikes valued at $1,000 or more were stolen—44 of them between Jan. 1 and the first week of August 2018.
My bike was stolen because it was available to be stolen. I'd leaned it against the side of the building where I work, anticipating returning to it minutes later to chase down a story—a press event for the first Goathead Fest. Instead, someone saw an opportunity and took it. Bike thefts, said Boise Police Department Crime Prevention Supervisor Ed Fritz, "are crimes of opportunity."
"You can have a great impact by taking the necessary means to reduce that opportunity. It's about how you lock up your bike, where you lock up your bike," he said.
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