Heat-map of Redmond bike theft reports for this year. Courtesy of the Redmond Police Department

Heat-map of Redmond bike theft reports for this year. Courtesy of the Redmond Police Department

Bike thefts on the rise in Redmond

The number of bike theft reports in Redmond has more than quintupled over the past decade.

Bike thefts in Redmond have been on the rise for multiple years, but 2018 is set to be the worst year yet after exceeding 2017’s theft rates in mid-August.

Redmond’s theft rate has more than quintupled over the last decade, going from 25 theft reports in 2008 to 143 reports in 2017. The highest year, 2016, saw 170 reports and theft reports are expected to exceed that with a 150 percent increase from last year, according to the Redmond Police Department (RPD).

“In terms of why it’s happening, we’re not really sure,” said RPD public information officer Andrea Wolf-Buck. “But it just seems that there’s a trend in what [thieves] are targeting and how they’re going about it.”

The number of reports isn’t the exact number of bike thefts that occur in Redmond, as some thefts go unreported and some bikes are stolen during other crimes and aren’t reported as solely bike theft.

Wolf-Buck clarified that despite the partial inaccuracy, the number of bike theft reports is a good indicator of the overall trend. The trend is only going up this year as RPD recorded 145 bike theft reports as of Aug. 24.

The majority of the thefts this year have much in common, Wolf-Buck said. Thieves have primarily targeted apartment complexes that have a common caged area for tenants to store their bikes.

Many bikes sit in the caged areas unsecured and a thief can simply break in through the gate by snapping the lock and walk out with the bikes that aren’t locked up within the cage.

“Some people put more locks on their bikes, which is what we recommend even if it’s in what you think is a secure cage,” Wolf-Buck said.

Police have found some success in tracking stolen bikes that are resold on online marketplaces, but some thieves chop up the bikes for parts, which makes it much more difficult to track.

Police recommend residents securely lock their bikes with a U-lock wherever they leave it and register their bikes’ serial numbers, which makes it easier for police to identify a stolen bike being resold.

Additionally, RPD has been increasing its crime prevention efforts regarding bike theft. So far, officers have worked with local businesses and apartment complexes to raise awareness of the crime spike.

Some apartment complex managers have been responsive to RPD’s efforts and officers have hosted presentations encouraging people to implement better safety measures.

“We go in there and we can check out the space and give recommendations,” Wolf-Buck said. “That’s a service we provide, especially when you see one place get hit over and over.”

The highest density of thefts appear to take place downtown around 160th Avenue Northeast and 161st Avenue Northeast where they intersect with Northeast 83rd Street. Other high-density areas are around the intersection of Penny Lane and 170th Place Northeast and the intersection of 152nd Avenue Northeast and Northeast Turing Street.

Each of these hot spots are near multiple apartment complexes.

RPD has few theories about why they’ve seen such a spike in bike theft, but their best guess is that there are simply more bike users in the area.

“We’re happy to help if we can,” Wolf-Buck said. “We try to help solve the problem proactively instead of them just writing down their serial numbers and waiting for their bike to get stolen.”

More in News

Washington’s attorney general talks veterans, guns and suing Trump

Bob Ferguson visited the Redmond Rotary Club on Nov. 15.

King County Flood Control District approves 2019 Budget on Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of King County Flood Control District.
King County Flood Control District approves $93 million budget

The 2019 District Budget will maintain current flood protection services.

Vader served the Redmond Police Department for more than seven years and enjoyed a four-year retirement as the Hovenden family pet. Photos courtesy of RPD
Former Redmond police K-9 Vader, dies at 13

Vader served the department for more than 7 years and spent his retirement as a full-time family pet.

Sarah Yount, former YES client, speaks at YES’s 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 2. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Youth Eastside Services celebrates 50 years

YES celebrates 50 years of providing youth and family behavioral health services.

Sky Metalwala has been missing for seven years. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Police plead for help in search for missing boy

Sky has been missing since Nov. 6, 2011 and turned 9 years old on Sept. 2.

Suspect arrested after stealing paychecks | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter from Oct. 22 through 24. Courtesy of the RPD blog.

Kuderer leads Tom; Walen over Bright

Legislative District 48 race. Results are preliminary.

Democrats lead in 45th Legislative District

Dhingra, Goodman and Springer earned about two thirds of the vote.

DelBene leads in 1st Congressional District in early returns

As of election night, incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading with 69 percent of the vote, to Jeffrey Beeler’s 31 percent.

King County property assessments have begun for some Eastside neighborhoods

County property appraisers visit around one-sixth of all properties in the county each year to ensure the homes are valued correctly.

Prowlers smash windows, steal wallets, handbags | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter for Oct. 12 through 14.

Safeco Field funding referendum withdrawn

The mysterious backers of the initiative won’t say why, but some think it’s because they couldn’t get funding to gather the necessary signatures.