On Monday, New York City activated its long-in-the-works bike share program, making thousands of bicycles available for short-term use at more 300 locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. On Sunday—the day before the CitiBike program officially launched—the first of those bikes was stolen. The New York Post reports that a thief grabbed one of the bikes as it was being delivered to a Manhattan docking station, and rode away before anyone realized what was happening.
The story spotlighted what New York cyclists already know: New York City has a bike theft problem. As Jody Rosen wrote in Slate last year, “New York is widely regarded as the nation’s bicycle-theft capital—Kryptonite’s signature bike lock is called the ‘New York Lock’—and in New York, as elsewhere, bike stealing spikes during times of economic distress.” Last July, the New York Police Department announced that bike theft was up 25 percent from the previous year. While bicycle theft isn’t a particularly lucrative crime—most stolen bikes are stripped for parts or resold for a fraction of their actual value—bikes are easy to steal, and the chances of getting caught are slim.
(Hat tip to Reason commenter SugarFree)