About 15,000 bicycles have been reported stolen to Denver police since 2011. That’s about seven bikes a day taken by bike thieves.
In a matter of seconds, anyone with a strong set of pliers could cut right through most cable bike locks. Sometimes, thieves are able to walk away with a bike that wasn’t locked at all.
Actually, it happens all the time.
Most of the time, those bikes are not coming back.
9Wants to Know obtained Denver police records that showed 93 percent of bikes are never recovered.
“The biggest barrier right now in recovering bikes is that there isn’t just one place that you can go to sell them,” said Denver detective Ryan Harris. “We are seeing a lot where they are just sold on the street, sold online, in pawn shops, there’s not just one place that they will go.”
But most of the bikes reported stolen from downtown Denver. Specifically, five locations account for 181 thefts alone. That includes two apartment complexes, The Douglas and The Berkshire, Union Station, the Denver Pavilions, and sports equipment store, REI.
Since 2013, police received 42 reports of stolen bikes from REI.
“A lot of it is just the availability of the bikes,” Harris said. In areas with large bike racks and a high volume of bikes, thieves have ample opportunities to take bikes.
Still, police do have some advice for bike owners.
“I think that registering your bike is the biggest thing a consumer can do to have a higher likelihood of getting your bike back,” Harris said.
Of the bikes that were successfully returned to their owners since 2011, more than 75 percent were registered with the police.
The Denver bike registration program allows bikers to enter their bike’s serial number online, which can help police positively identify bicycles and return them.
“And then just getting a good lock – you are going to deter a lot of thieves,” Harris said.
The police recommend using “U-Locks,” which are not as easily breakable, and encourage more people to use their online registry.