Bicycle commuting in Philadelphia more than doubled between 2000 and 2011, and with more bicycles parked in and around the city, theft has become a hot topic – particularly in Graduate Hospital.
Bike activity rates much higher in the area compared to the rest of the city, and consequently thefts are also much higher. The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia (BCP) estimates bike theft somewhere between 170 and 760 per square mile in the neighborhood.
Since 2010, thieves in the area have stolen nearly $76,000 in bicycles – an average of $422 per bike.
Many people complain to BCP when their bikes are stolen, Mirra said, but the organization can only offer sympathies and give advice on preventing future thefts. One of which is proper lock technique.
U-Locks are recommended because they’re easily transportable and difficult to cut through. The lock goes around the frame and through the back wheel (because that’s it’s more expensive to replace) while a cable runs through the front wheel and frame and is secured to the lock. The organization discourages locking bikes to trees because thieves have been known to cut them down to steal bicycles.
Curtis Anthony, owner of Via Bicycle on 9th Street which buys and sells used bikes, said most bikes are stolen because they are improperly locked. Anthony has his employees teach their customers how to properly lock their bikes using a U-lock and cable.
Bicycles can be worth hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, and although they frequently appear on websites such as Ebay and Craigslist, Anthony said they’ve been known to appear in used bicycle shops in Philadelphia too. That’s why he only purchases his bikes from vendors where the bikes are registered.
– Text, images, map and video by Dan Hampton.