Addressing bike thefts in Seattle

Updated:

Editor's note: This story from KIRO Radio has been updated to correct previously reported statistics. Department data shows that bike thefts decreased in 2016 and bike theft is down again this year.

 

Bike advocates in Seattle are asking police for more help in dealing with the issue of bike thefts.

But Seattle Police Department data shows bike thefts decreased from 2015 to 2016 – and another decrease is expected this year.

In 2008, fewer than 500 bikes were stolen in the city. That number increased each year-- along with the population – through 2015 when there was a high of 1,570 bike thefts, according to department data.

In 2016, the number of stolen bikes in Seattle dropped to 1,132 -- a number lower than each of the two previous years, according to department data.

In 2013 -- a year when the city’s had fewer residents -- there were 1,131 bike thefts reported. That’s one fewer than the number reported last year (1,132).

Bike theft is currently down 17 percent in 2017, according to department statistics.

Bike advocates say for every one bike stolen, five more thefts go unreported. They point to national survey numbers. They also believe there’s a correlation between bike theft and drug addicts who pawn stolen bikes to support their habits.

While Seattle police statistics show the theft problem is improving, bike advocates say there are also steps that riders can take to prevent thefts themselves: locking up their bikes responsibly and registering them.