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Bike thefts at BART stations are up dramatically

on December 19, 2013

OAKLAND – Bike thefts at BART stations spiked dramatically this summer, according to the latest BART Quarterly Report, as thieves have targeted vulnerable cable lock devices.

There were 243 bike thefts from July to September, up 67 percent from the previous quarter, according the report. Through September of this year, 719 bikes were stolen, with 129 of those thefts occurring at BART stations in Oakland.

Ken Dam, BART’s crime analyst, estimated that about 80 percent of the bikes stolen were using cable locks.

“We take every approach that we can to help prevent bicycle theft,” Dam said.

BART Police have tried to raise public awareness about the advantages of heavier and stronger U-Locks. Patrol officers who see bikes left with cable locks hang educational tags on them advising owners to buy the more effective device.

BART is also working on implanting its Bike Parking Capital Plan, which includes creating 316 new shared-use lockers and three new bike stations at the Civic Center, MacArthur and 19th Street stations.

San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro Police Departments worked with BART to share information. With the data gathered, police have found that some thieves have traveled great distances to steal bicycles. Using statistical analysis, BART police have set up undercover stings that have led to several arrests.

BART recommends that owners record their bike’s serial number in case it’s stolen. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition also advises bicyclists to not lock their bikes in the same place every day, select visible locations, and use two U-Locks.

BART is also studying efforts by transit systems in other cities, looking for anti-theft tactics to implement next year.

Of the 129 bikes stolen from BART station in Oakland, MacArthur station had 38, Lake Merritt recorded 21, 19th Station had 20, West Oakland had 17, Fruitvale had 16, Rockridge had 7, 12th Station had 6, and Coliseum had 4.

Dublin/Pleasanton station had the highest number of bike thefts, with 52.


  1. Lancette on December 20, 2013 at 11:45 am

    It would be very convenient if BART adds BikeLink lockers at stations in SF.

    • michael d on February 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      My wife had her new bike locked inside the 12 th street bart station today .She had the top of the line Abus lock and a cable lock around the tires .thevies cut cable lock and took rims with disc brakes and tires and helmut. This once again was inside bart not on the street .With a CC cam no more that 15 feet away and 2 more cams not to far away. it was mid day between 11 and 2 pm. It took bart police almost 2 hrs to respond to her calls . bart agent was usless. when they did respond they were of no help with a carless attitude . we asked if we could see the cam footage and were told it would take 3 days and they were not even sure the cams were working. Took the issue to bart headquarters where officer there took interest and is doing his best. we will see. Also called channel 2 to report it.Oh yea the head officer told us never leave ANY bike bike at ANY Bart. SO you have been warned

  2. Robert Prinz on December 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you for this great report, Yolanda. Bike theft is indeed a huge issue all over the Bay Area, and putting even a little bit of pressure on thieves can dramatically decrease the appeal of bikes as an easy theft target.

    Part of the solution involves educating bicyclists on how to keep their property safe, by both locking their bikes securely, writing down their bikes’ serial numbers, as well as reporting theft to the police when it does occur. Information on all of the above can be found on the East Bay Bicycle Coalition website at

    Equally important, however, are efforts to eliminate easy opportunities for thieves to sell stolen property, like at local flea markets. This is why we are partnering with Oakland PD and various market operators to initiate new rules for selling bikes, and encouraging local law enforcement to spend time and energy on bike theft sting operations such as the ones BART PD has had success with. Oftentimes when a bike theft network is shut down through these efforts illegal guns and drugs are also recovered, so it is definitely worthwhile even from a public safety perspective.

    • harvey on December 24, 2013 at 9:33 am

      I’m pleased to see that OPD is conducting sting operations for bike theft. Is a regional bike registration program an effective method for reducing bike theft?

      • Robert Prinz on December 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        We prefer national registry systems over regional ones, as the wider pool of information makes it more possible to recover a stolen bike even if it is transported over state lines or resold multiple times. An effort to create an open source API that all registry systems can feed into is also underway, to make it easier to match up theft reports with recovered bikes.

        National systems we recommend are Bike Shepherd, Bike Index, or the Stolen Bike Registry, most of which are free and have searchable bike serial number databases for people who want to check if the bike they are buying was listed as stolen previously.

  3. Robert Raburn on December 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    The reported thefts are only a portion of the total actual bicycle thefts and vandalism incidents. For the past several years, BART Police have paid close attention to bike thefts, make arrests, and target serial thieves. New racks inside stations fill as fast as they are installed. BART also is working to add security cameras. Nevertheless, never rely on a cable lock. The highest security is available by using one of 1150 electronic lockers or free valet parking at a Bike Station. For details visit:

  4. Daten on December 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I wonder if making the penalties for stealing someones bike the same as they are for stealing an auto would reduce the amount of bike theft. Either way they are often peoples only means of conveyance.

  5. Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog San Francisco on December 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    […] Bike Theft on the Rise at Oakland BART Stations (Oakland North) […]

  6. It's Me on December 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Better yet, take a camera and photograph your serial number and long with a picture of you bicycle, that way you can post the serial number on the web.

  7. Ian on January 13, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Notice the graph was arranged like it is flipping you off…

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