Bike Theft Down in Eugene (but have you registered your bike?)

After a spike in 2015, the City of Eugene reported in this month’s InMotion newsletter that the Eugene Police Department (EPD) “registered more bicycles and had fewer bicycles reported stolen in 2016 than in 2015.”

That’s good news, especially since Eugene has been recognized as one of the worst places in the nation for bike theft.

However, it’s worth noting that we haven’t made “Kryptonite’s Top 10 Worst Cities For Bike Theft” since 2006 and our high theft rate also correlates to one of the higher per-capita bike ridership numbers in the nation (8.7%), second only to Boulder, Colorado (10.5%) for medium-sized cities (population of 100,000–199,999).

Most readers have their Eugene bike theft story, we have a “stolen bike listings” page, and we even know the worst spots in town thanks to a report last year from EPD.

But what are people and organizations doing to reduce bike theft in Eugene? Let’s look at some of the numbers and what people can do to reduce the chances that their bikes are stolen.

Stolen Bikes Eugene 2014-2017

Over the last couple of years reported bike thefts in Eugene have gone from 859 in 2014 to 1,048 in 2015, down to 754 in 2016. During that same period, bikes that have been recovered have gone from 124 in 2014, to 163 in 2015, to 106 in 2016.

Those numbers are just from the City of Eugene Police Department. The University of Oregon Police Department keeps different numbers. Though they had a slight increase in 2016 (up t0 130 from 114 in 2015) the numbers are down from the 2014 high point of 183 reported stolen bikes.

UOPD Thefts

The number of bikes recovered and returned to their owners is related to how many bikes that are registered, and we also have some of those numbers from the City of Eugene and the University of Oregon, who have always had different bike registration programs.

The Eugene Police Department has 6,829 bikes registered in their national crime database. The number of bikes registered in 2015 was 651 and that increased in 2016 to 741. This was around the time EPD switched from an in-person registration to the online registration that is now available.

The University of Oregon Police Department has 9,409 bikes registered in their in-house database but has recently (in early 2016) switched to the new UO Project 529 registration system that allows for online registration via a website or app as well as a social media and crowd-source monitoring system. Since that point they’ve registered 1,451 bikes in the Project 529 system. The university said that getting numbers for recoveries is more difficult due to the way they are recorded as a recovered article and are not specific to bike theft.

Proper Bike LockingBike Locking PosterHere’s the PSA portion via the City of Eugene…Register your bike!!

Registering your bicycle can greatly increase your chances of recovering it, if it is stolen.  You can register your bike for free with EPD (if you are a resident of the incorporated area of Eugene). University of Oregon students should register their bicycle with the U of O Department of Parking & Transportation and registration with them is required for all bikes on campus. For all others, various National bike registries are available, such as bikeindex.org or Project 529 (who recently merged with National Bike Registry).  Like EPD & U of O, they’re free, convenient and easy to use. Only one registration per bicycle is necessary, so there is no need to register with EPD if you already registered your bike with U of O or a National registry.

To report stolen bicycles 24 hours a day (which should be done immediately), call 911 if the crime is in progress, call EPD Non-emergency at 541-682-5111, or go online to our website to report it.

Author: Shane MacRhodes

Contributor & co-editor. Papa. Active Transportation Professional. BEST Board Member.