Taraval Station

Prevent Bike Theft and Increase Your Chances of Recovering Your Bike If Stolen

Prevent Bike Theft
Beware of bike thieves!
Together with most other major US cities, San Francisco has a problem with bike theft. Several thousands of bikes are stolen annually – in most cases without their owners ever reporting the crimes.

Nearly half of the reported thefts take place downtown, including around Union Square, the Tenderloin, Civic Center, Market Street, South of Market and along the Embarcadero. Thieves steal seats, wheels or the entire bike. Many more bikes than iPhones are stolen, at a yearly cost of more than several million dollars.

Police recover stolen bikes all the time – in stings, during unrelated arrests, and after thieves abandon them. Yet few of them are ever returned to their rightful owners, mainly because relatively few owners take the time to register their bikes or record their serial numbers or take photographs of them to help police identify the property.

Early in 2018, the SFPD began assigning officers in all ten district stations to focus on property crimes including auto break-ins and bike thefts. But we need your help to keep you on your wheels.

What you can do
Thwart the thieves by investing in a good lock. A high-end steel U-Lock is best, since cheap locks and cables can be easily cut. Lock the U-Lock to the bike frame – never just to the wheels – and to a secure rack or pole. Take lights and any other removable parts along with you.

Park your bike in a light, well-traveled area, or if you can, take your bike into your office, as a city law now allows.

Record your serial number. If your bike is stolen and recovered by police, you’ll probably need to provide that number to reclaim it. Look for it on the bottom bracket of the bicycle and record it for safekeeping.

Register your bike!
safebikes.org, a free database run by SAFE Bikes, is a program of San Francisco SAFE in partnership with the SFPD and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. You will need to provide the make, model, serial number and complete description of the bicycle, with photos and your purchase receipt.
Bike Index bikeindex.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the most widely used and successful bicycle registration service in the world.