News

Bike thefts in Palo Alto spike, prompting warning from police

Thieves take 12 in one week in Palo Alto

A spate of bicycle thefts occurred recently in Palo Alto, with 12 thefts in the span of a week, according to police reports.

The thieves struck throughout the city at single-family homes, multi-family residences and commercial buildings starting on July 9.

Neighborhoods where bikes were stolen were Charleston Gardens, Old Palo Alto, College Terrace, Adobe Meadow and Evergreen Park.

Bike thefts, while ongoing, rise cyclically, police Agent Marco Estrada said. Most bike thefts are crimes of opportunity in which a thief spots an unattended and unlocked bicycle. While some bikes are taken to be sold, others are used as transportation, he said.

Police are encouraging residents to lock their garages and bikes and to keep bikes out of view in their yards.

To see a map of where the thefts occurred, click here.

Comments

6 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Jul 20, 2015 at 2:59 pm

It has been my experience that the thieves take the expensive bikes and leave the $80 Walmart bikes alone.


68 people like this
Posted by Miguel
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 20, 2015 at 3:51 pm

I can't tell you how many bikes I have had stolen in Palo Alto and the idea that this is an "opportunity crime" is pure bull. Everyone who has lived in Palo Alto has had or knows of someone that has had a bike stolen. The police know damn well these are highly organized thefts, houses are cased, chains are cut with no trace, and only the the expensive marketable bikes vanish into vans or trucks to LA, Portland, or some other Craig's list venue for quick easy cash. Why else do we see a "rash" of thefts....Our police should set stings and get these organized crime groups with some tracking technology and good old school police work. The bottom line is police are not interested/motivated in the unsexy low dollar non-insurance related work of bike thefts so they don't give a crap. Try and get them to come out and do a police report on a bike theft and see the response you get.


18 people like this
Posted by Greg
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I am glad to hear that the police seem to be starting to take this more seriously. Thanks!

Having had a bike stolen a few weeks ago, from the corner of University Ave and Bryant Street, at noon on Saturday, I can tell you that the police were previously not interested in investigating. They told me at the time that they "don't take police reports for bike thefts" and "consider them to be lost property" unless I could show them something like a video of the perpetrator. (We didn't have one, and walked a police report over anyway for record-keeping.)

In my case, I locked my bike with a cable lock, which was very cleanly cut. I don't think this was a "crime of opportunity" but instead someone who was organized enough to quickly cut a cable lock without anyone seeing them on a busy weekend afternoon and ride off on a bike that wasn't theirs. I don't think that it was a "convenient opportunity" at all.

And finally, my bike wasn't an "$80 Wal-Mart bike" and I have no plans to purchase such a bike. What that has to do with anything?


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Bike thefts in Palo Alto, particularly at our secondary schools, have been an ongoing problem for many years. PAPD are definitely not interested and the fact that they have issued this warning does not help when the theft of expensive bikes properly locked become targets for bike thieves. I have heard of some people taking the saddle with them to leave a less desirable target bike and cheap bikes being locked near expensive bikes so that the expensive bikes get stolen leaving the cheap bikes safe.

Just by Googling bait bikes shows many instances of police having success in rounding up thieves. Berkeley is a good example Web Link

Instead of just issuing warnings about something which is hard to do for students on campus, the PD should think about catching the thieves with bait bikes.


17 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

My sister had five bikes stolen over the course of her undergraduate studies at Stanford. I have had two bikes stolen. All of our bikes were properly locked and in well-lit locations. It is a costly burden that is heavier on some families and students than others.

It would be nice to publicly humiliate thieves, burglars, robbers and swindlers in our society. Wouldn't it be great to have a website that listed all crimes with mugshots of the faces of the criminals?


22 people like this
Posted by Midlander
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2015 at 6:46 pm

I'll echo the frustration here.

I've had three bikes stolen in Palo Alto over the years. I reported the first theft to the police, but found that a pretty unrewarding experience, so I didn't bother to report the others. It's vexing enough to have a bike stolen without also being treated as a nuisance for trying to report it.

In the most recent theft (last year) someone came into my side yard, cut a thick cable lock and took the bike. That was not an opportunistic theft.

I responded by installing a security camera, as at least that gives me some hope of identifying any future thief.

I wish the Palo Alto police would take bike thefts more seriously. I understand the police have many calls on their time, but it doesn't feel great to feel they are simply waving off this issue as "not their problem".


7 people like this
Posted by rare opportunity
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

As I recall Chelsea Clinton had her bike stolen when she was a
student at Stanford. Considering the Secret Service protection,
that could be in the list of Crimes of the Century. No bike is safe.


15 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm

[Post removed due to factual inaccuracies.]


3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2015 at 11:25 pm

What ever happened to the bike registration program? You used to pay a yearly fee and attach registration stickers to your bike in hopes that it would be returned if recovered.


23 people like this
Posted by Stolen bike
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 20, 2015 at 11:34 pm

We had a bike stolen off of University ace too - after scrolling through Craigslist we actually found it - and sent the link to the police. The person that stole our bike had pictures that linked to his personal photobucket account, that showed a trove of other bikes that he had likely stolen. We were able to find a few other listings, this guy was selling many high end bikes for much less then they were worth. Among the pictures was a photo of himself, as well as identifying information that could have led to the recovery of many bikes. (Unfortunately, ours was already sold) but the police didn't do anything.


10 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2015 at 12:14 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

If I remember correctly, the police told us that about 300-350 bikes are stolen per year from Stanford alone. My sister's bikes were registered. When the second one was stolen, I asked the police what the registration did. His response?

"Nothing."

He went on to say that he couldn't think of a single bike that was stolen from campus that had ever been recovered.


20 people like this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:16 am

Sparty is a registered user.

Lock your bike next to a lemonade stand


9 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 8:03 am

Any suggestions on how to get the police to take bicycle theft more seriously? Many of these bikes are more expensive than iPhones or laptops. Maybe if we planted GPS trackers in the bikes, the police would take the crime more seriously.


8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 21, 2015 at 8:18 am

"What ever happened to the bike registration program? You used to pay a yearly fee and attach registration stickers to your bike in hopes that it would be returned if recovered."

Oh, the program still exists in all of its largely useless form since there is no centralized database for stolen bicycles. Also, the stickers are fairly easy to peel off.

Many of the local bicycle thefts are committed by highly organized thieves. Most people don't lock their bikes in their own garages, but a team of thieves in a van can likely swipe a bike in 15-20 seconds from an open garage. They also scope out apartment and condo complexes, look for bike racks and go for the bikes with the weakest security (flimsy cable locks rather than Kryptonite-style U-locks).

"It has been my experience that the thieves take the expensive bikes and leave the $80 Walmart bikes alone."

It has been my experience that the thieves will take any bicycle that isn't carefully secured, regardless of the aftermarket value.


15 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2015 at 9:00 am

If theft victims were mad enough to form vigilante groups to confront the thieves, then I bet the police would start putting more effort into crime fighting. Right now, victims are too quiet to get attention from the police. In other cities, the police are using surveillance cameras, GPS trackers, and sting operations to bust the perps.


34 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2015 at 9:58 am

If the city really wants more people biking instead of driving around town, they really need to crack down on the bicycle thieves. Fear of bicycle theft is one the biggest deterrents to bicycling to local businesses.


8 people like this
Posted by Alice
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:17 am

My Raleigh three-speed was stolen. In Trumpington Street, Cambridge, UK in 1974. It STILL rankles. I loved that bike.


12 people like this
Posted by Bold Crime
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:49 am

I'm going to hope that Mike's comment about "$80 Walmart bikes" was meant as an observation not a suggestion that it's the bicyclist's fault for riding something more expensive. Do we take that attitude toward cars? "Hey, you don't like your Mercedes stolen, you should've driven a Yugo."

This kind of bold theft mid-day in a commercial district like University or California Avenues should be seen as a social catastrophe. How many people watched the bikes get stolen? Some locks might be easy to cut but they still require non-trivial tools (far bigger than a key)

Citizens need to tell PAPD that it needs to start treating this more aggressively. Bike theft in this area is almost always 'Grand' theft which can be a felony. Really, you say? Yes. Other than a 'beater commuter bike' (an honorable tool), most bikes today are worth far more than the $400 Petty Theft limit. The nicer ones you see around start at $2000 and are not uncommonly up to $10k (yes, nice bikes have gotten pricey and just like nice cars, we have a lot around here)


2 people like this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:59 am

Any GPS tracking devices with reasonable price we could attach to our bikes?


1 person likes this
Posted by Kerry55
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:36 am

Just got back from Crested Butte, Colorado. We rented some high end mountain bikes, after our ride left them unlocked on the main street. I was a little worried, but nobody steals bikes there. Such a nice place where residents and visitors have a different way of life.


9 people like this
Posted by two locked bikes stolen downtown
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:41 am

Two bikes stolen around 11am on a Sunday at University and Bryant. Lock cut and left behind so we could see just how easily over $1000 of our property could disappear. Jerks.

Police were setting up for the music festival and not interested in making a report. We downloaded and completed a form from the city website, but it seems pointless. Does anyone even read it? Enter it into some database?

How is the downtown parking problem going to improve when bike theft rings are doing business all day long - clearly without consequence? Guys are probably sitting on a Univ Ave. bench right now laughing at gullible Palo Altans who are naive enough to think locking a bike to a rack on a busy corner in broad daylight is ok.

I like the idea of a sting. There are hundreds of stolen bikes on CL. Isn't this a Google bike for $99?:
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by two locked bikes stolen downtown
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:45 am

The iPhone comment from anonymous comparing value to a bike reminds me of the Police HELICOPTER that was in hot pursuit of a stolen iphone about three or so years ago. Anyone else recall that?


7 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:56 am

I've had two bikes stolen in Palo Alto in the past two years. I believe that if the police were motivated, they could catch some of these thieves by using stings or other tactics. I'm not sure if stings are considered entrapment. My hunch is that there are a few folks behind most of the bike thefts. Once a couple of the thieves were caught, the word would go out and the problem would be solved. Then it would repeat and the police would have to do another sting (or proactively anticipate the thefts and set up the stings). Seems pretty simple but I don't think the PAPD finds this very interesting. It's probably more fun to do SWAT team training etc.


19 people like this
Posted by Police Response?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:57 am

I'd like to see the police department respond to this thread and explain why they don't take bike thefts seriously. If ignoring these crimes is so consistent, it must be department policy, so there must be a reason for the policy.

So how about it PAPD, why are bike thefts not treated seriously?


3 people like this
Posted by AS
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm

PAPD is interested in revenue generation only and these crimes involve too much work for them to follow up on. Officers making close to $200K annually they can't be bothered with bicycles.


7 people like this
Posted by Barron Park resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Criminals know that the Palo Alto police don't care about these stolen bikes. Asking school kids to get their bikes registered at fire stations is a joke.

Palo Alto police don't direct traffic when the lights go out. That is beneath them. They just say that they called Caltrans, and Caltrans is "working on it". In the mean time, traffic at El Camino and Arasterdero gets backed up 10-15 blocks, 45 minute delays, etc.

Palo Alto police send a few days at the beginning of each school year making sure student bicyclists don't run stop signs. Then disappear for the rest of the year. They get to check the box that they "enforced" the rules for the bicyclists.

Most enforcement of the driving codes (u turns in the middle of the street, running stop signs, etc.), building noise complaints, or any thing else, are only done when residents go to the Palo Alto web site to fill out an official form to complain. Then they will respond only one time. If the violation keeps occurring, you need to fill out forms requesting police to investigate each time.

Palo Alto police are not proactive for anything. They are just waiting for the excitement when they can put on their SWAT uniforms and storm a house or bowling lane. Other than that situation, it is hard to get their interest.


12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2015 at 12:54 pm

I've read interviews with the San Francisco Police saying that they will respond in person to reports of bicycle theft so that they can collect evidence (fingerprints, DNA, etc) at the scene. Palo Alto Police won't even listen to reports about grand theft in the city? No wonder bicycle theft is spiking here.


7 people like this
Posted by A neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

I, too, would like PAPD to take these bike thefts more seriously.
I now carry a super heavy ABUS ulock whenever I bike anywhere. I wished I didn't need to.


11 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

How much would it cost to microchip a bike? People do this with pets. Is there a way to do this for a bike in a cost effective way? It would be great if this was an option when buying a good bike.

When my sister's first bike was stolen on campus, it was unexpected and heartbreaking...because it was the best bike that we could afford here in Palo Alto. My sister really loved the bike. While adding $25 to $50 to the price might not have prevented the bike's theft, it might have helped us recover it.

Still, I think that the "registration" -- that currently seems pointless -- should fund the search and recovery of such bicycles that are tagged.


2 people like this
Posted by biker
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@resident - I'd like to see a citation of your source on SFPD. They are definitely not testing DNA for bike thefts, that's ridiculous. Like PAPD they typically won't even respond to something like a bike theft, you just fill out a report online.


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Bold Crime - Cutting cable locks is trivial, and doesn't take a bolt cutter. Anyone who uses a cable lock, please watch this youtube video showing a simple handheld wire cutter slice through a cable lock in seconds.

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Whiskers
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 21, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Heres a thought that just popped into my head. Get ourself a big thick ROPE; say an inch thick. Then tie a number of knots into it to lock it. Sure, anyone can take the time to untie the knots, but that's what it would take - time. And thieve wouldn't want to take the time to undo the knots or get out their knife to cut the rope.

Second thought: Get several locks and hook them up to different spots on the bike. Again, it would take time to cut through them all, and excess time is a thief's worst enemy.


8 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 6:29 pm

How about citizens planting bikes, then forming a vigilante group to catch the thief? SFPD uses bait bikes, why can't we?

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 6:49 pm

A GPS device with a cellular modem than tracks any bike. Can map your rides but also track stolen bicycles.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 6:52 pm

I would really like to see PAPD do more to help us. Telling us to be more careful is not on, particularly when so many of these bike thefts are against children at school, or children at parks, or children at their friends' homes.

Some of these kids have saved allowances, Christmas/birthday money, babysitting money, to buy these bikes. It is heartbreaking for them when their first major purchase is stolen. Not everyone in Palo Alto is rich enough to just go out and buy a replacement bike for themselves or their kids.

I would rather PAPD do something about bike thefts than worry about gas leaf blowers or offleash dogs in parks. Or maybe they are not worrying about those things anyway. Perhaps if they spent less time at lemonade stands they might have time to stop crime.


5 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 7:20 pm

I just noticed a camera on a pole at University avenue and Bryant street(front of Restoration Hardware). I don't know what agency is monitoring the camera, but more of those cameras would be great around town.

Parking garages and the underground walkways near the University avenue train station would be a good start.


6 people like this
Posted by How to get rid of a bike
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 7:34 pm

I once bought a bike for $5 from a yard sale. It was a truly horrible bicycle - heavy, slightly bent wheel, stuck in one gear - but it was adequate for what I wanted it for - easy transportation around the Stanford campus and not have to worry about losing something valuable if it were stolen. I kept it locked up. When it came time to leave Stanford, I wanted to get rid of it, so I left it unlocked. The worst bike ever, and it was gone in two days.


Like this comment
Posted by biker
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2015 at 9:59 pm

I think it is waste of times of both police and resident to call police to write a report for stolen bike. However, I do agree that Palo Alto police should do some real policing to discourage or catch the thieves. This cannot be done by sitting in the car (or office) or just produce statistics and advice to homeowners. Actually, I don't mean our police force is not good, but they do need to be more creative in fighting crime and keep coming with new crime fighting ideas. You can't just exercise the stuff you learn in the police academy. The teachings become obsolete. The police, like any progressive organization, need to innovate and keep ahead of criminals.


9 people like this
Posted by biker
a resident of another community
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:08 pm

Congrats PAPD! Give us a warning after the fact for a bunch of crimes that you are doing nothing to prevent! Enjoy your donuts!


3 people like this
Posted by Police Response?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:27 pm

It's been 10 hours since I asked the PAPD to post a response to my question, "Why are bike thefts not treated seriously?"

I don't believe the PAPD monitors all discussions on this forum, but I'd surely expect them to monitor a discussion about a warning THEY issued. Oh wait, it's just about bikes, so who cares...


6 people like this
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:54 pm

To Sparty, " lock your bike next to a lemonade stand". You made my night! Very funny!


6 people like this
Posted by biker 2
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:32 pm

to the over-weight cop that hangs out at waverley and Embarcadero waiting for some criminal traffic violation to happen right in front of him--why don't you get out of your big suv and go find some bike thieves. all you would have to do is sit in front of the bike racks at any of the middle school. you will surely find the thieves soon enough. they are going to be there--since that is where the bikes are (it is hard to still the bikes where there are no bikes). you can stop this mess by doing some real police work that actually helps people instead of looking for a quick ticket to hand out.


2 people like this
Posted by Dutch
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2015 at 3:50 am

Vanmoof makes bikes with built in GPS trackers.

vanmoof.com/the-movement


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:44 am

This is possibly not a glut of thefts, but a glut of reports of thefts.

Many here have said that they no longer even bother to report a bike theft since the PAPD do nothing about it.

I suggest that everyone using a bike in Palo Alto does a few things.

1. Take a good picture of your bike including the serial number. It will help if your bike is stolen.

2. If your bike is stolen, report it ASAP to PAPD.

3. Report it to this thread or similar on Town Square.

4. Report it to school office if it happens at school, to Caltrain if it happens at a station, to City Hall if it happens on City property (park, parking lot), to a store if it is happens at a rack outside the store, etc., to the library, church, business, etc. where it happens.

5. Any other ideas, like making a bike users group with emphasis on bike thefts rather than traffic, safety issues etc. The PTA could perhaps be part of this.

In other words, make a big noise. We can't just let this situation continue. If Palo Alto residents can make a big noise about plane noise and leaf blowers, there is no reason why a bigger noise should not be made about bicycle crime.


1 person likes this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Biker 2 - while I also would like to see the PAPD be more pro-active about bike thefts, they have other responsibilities. Monitoring the speeders and red light runners at Waverley/Embarcadero is a good use of their time (imho). And I wish there weren't comments made about folks appearance. I've seen that cop in action and if there was a problem situation, I'd choose him to be on my side. Kind of a gentle giant type. I'm sure the PAPD reads these threads. I wish Lt. Perron would chime in more in threads like this one, and spend less time with promoting the Lemonade stand type posts.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:39 pm

I'm a taxpayer, too, and I get pretty outraged reading the police blotter and seeing what the police consider priorities, esp. in their daily downtown citations and arrests.

I urge you all to do the same and to then share your thoughts that bike thefts should be a higher priority than the police's current priorities.


3 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 22, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Online Name - So I checked the police blotter and see they arrested a knife wielding maniac, a backyard burglar, and a flasher who assaulted a couple. I don't think you have a point.

If you want want more attention given to crimes like bike theft (I do), we need to prioritize increasing the size of the police force which is woefully small. If the city thinks it is better to spend 10 million trying to buy a trailer park and a million on city vanity remodelling instead of public safety, we deserve the crime.


2 people like this
Posted by Like Your Bike? Lock It.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Here's what the PTA tells students about how to deter bike theft:

A lock will deter the majority of bike thefts.

1). Buy a high quality bike lock
• If you can’t afford to lose your bike, a quality U-lock is a smart investment.
• Inexpensive cable locks can be cut quickly with bolt or wire cutters. High quality locks are more secure.

2). Lock through your bike FRAME
• Do not lock only through wheels, seat posts, or handlebars which can be easily removed. See Web Link

3). Lock to a secure bike rack
• NOT to fence wire which can be cut.
• PAUSD provides bike racks for our protection. Use them!


3 people like this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Expensive U locks are cut just the same as cheap locks. Bike thieves aren't so clueless that they think a steel bike from walmart is the same as a carbon fiber or aluminum bike


9 people like this
Posted by Maurice
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2015 at 8:47 pm

I have had several bikes stolen in Palo Alto. I wish that the police could strap mittens made of Kevlar onto the hands of thieves. Make them wear them for a year. Maybe they world think twice about stealing if they can't use fingers for a year.


2 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:38 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Sparty - Nothing will stop a professional bike thief, but there is a substantial difference between a heavy duty u lock or heavy duty chain, and any cable, or a cheap chain. It will take much longer and take much much larger tools, and that kind of deterrent is the best you can hope for.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2015 at 5:45 am

Sparty is a registered user.

youtube has ample evidence that a $20 bolt cutter from harbor freight will cut anything from a dollar store cable lock to a $90 U lock


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:33 am

@sparty - please post links to YouTube videos of $20 bolt cutters cutting $90 U-locks. I know that $20 U-locks are easy to beat, but those $90 "New York proof" hardened-steel locks weigh twice as much and appear to be much sturdier.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:50 am

These $90 locks are heavy and cumbersome for 90lb teens going to school with already bulky backpacks.

I believe in prevention is better than cure, but blaming the victims for not doing enough to prevent bike thefts is a poor show by PAPD.

Please do something to stop thefts around our schools and other popular places to park bikes.


1 person likes this
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2015 at 4:14 pm

I'd like to see more surveillance cameras overlooking bike parking areas and the surroundings. Having a video of thieves and their vehicle should enable better police work apprehending the criminals.
I googled gps [ tracking devices bikes ] and got lots of hits, and a link to reviews at the bottom of the first page of the list. If I had an expensive bike, I'd get one of the trackers along with a good lock.
I've been tempted to lock my bike (or not) and monitor it with a video cam from nearby. Call 911 with a theft in progress to get fast police response. If the bike had a gps tracker, the police could track it with likely success.


6 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 2, 2015 at 9:23 pm

"A bait bike program intended to deter bicycle thefts in Sacramento is also reeling in thieves suspected of other property crimes in the city, police say.

Since late 2013, when police began placing bicycles equipped with GPS tracking devices at strategic locations, thefts of those bikes has resulted in 90 to 100 arrests, said Sgt. Rachel Ellis, who oversees the Sacramento Police Department’s bicycle unit and the bait bike program."

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by ron
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 14, 2016 at 10:39 pm

I think stealing bikes IS a crime of opportunity. Why spend the time to cut a lock when a person can just go to an easier target and this time of year there are ample targets available. KEEP YOUR BIKE OUT OF SIGHT and inside the house or apt. This goes triple at night. If you have an Expensive bike then roll it inside the apt or house even if you are going to be gone only a few seconds. And in Palo Alto lots of people have expensive bikes. If you have an expensive bike the least you can do is get a good lock for it. Don't get cheap and spend $10 for a lock for your $500 or $1000 bike. Get a decent lock and the thief will be tempted just to move to an easier target.
Better yet don't buy an expensive bike if you don't want to be bothered with having to watch it. I think even cars are safer than bikes in summer. I have a friend with bikes worth at least $1000 each and he NEVER leaves them outside. He ALWAYS rolls them inside, and locks the door. Thieves can't steal what they can't see. Don't make it easy on them.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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