November 29, 2013

A "spiritually starved and hopeless addict..."

"...publicly self-destructing."

That's how one Dave Cutter described your standard-issue bicycle thief in a comment he left on a BikeForums thread I started to encourage cyclists to check out Bike Thieves Beware. Cutter thinks that BTB gives bike thieves too much credit and argues that most bike thefts are committed by opportunists who lack specialized experience. If you're naive or complacent enough—I was—to "secure" your bike with a cable lock, they'll gladly liberate it, but they're not spending hours taking high-tech locks apart to figure out how they work.

"It is not the bicycle thief against the bicycle owner," wrote Cutter. "It is [a] spiritually starved and hopeless addict...publicly self-destructing. Bicycle owners are merely the innocent bystanders who are directly affected."

While, as #5 in "Interview with a Bike Thief" attests, there definitely are some criminals out there actively keeping up with bike owners' latest antitheft strategies (another BikeForums commenter indicated that if he were a bike thief, he might frequent BTB for just that purpose!), Cutter's comment got me thinking about why people steal bikes.

I read this story recently about an unemployed Englishman who stole a bike in order to—so he said—give it to his child as a Christmas present, but the impression I've gotten is that most bike thieves—the habitual ones, anyway—are addicts, hooked on crack or heroin or something similarly strong and destructive.

So isn't the real problem—a problem even more daunting than how to make a two wheeler immune to snatch-and-carry—how to keep could-be thieves out of what commenter Cutter called a "death spiral" of addiction and criminality?  

No comments:

Post a Comment