Bike thefts are surging in pandemic-era New York City, according to police.
New Yorkers reported 4,477 stolen bikes from March 1 to Sept. 21, 2020, a 27 percent increase from 3,507 over the same period last year, NYPD said.
At the same time, cops made 204 arrests for bike larceny — less than two-thirds the amount made over the same period in 2019.
The spike comes amid a national bike shortage spurred by cycling booms in New York and other cities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s the fastest-growing mode of transportation in the city, dramatically so this year,” said Bike New York spokesman Jon Orcutt.
“There’s enough disincentives to riding a bike in New York City already. We don’t need this additional one.”
The city’s stats likely undercount the number of stolen bikes, the New York Times reported.
Other big global cities are experiencing similar increases in bike theft, the Times said. Reports of stolen bikes are up 62 percent in Paris compared to 2019. In London, bike thefts are up about 30 percent.
To stem the tide, Orcutt said, the city needs to invest time and resources in expanding bike parking. He said the solutions lie in a mix of on-street bicycle racks and off-street facilities like parking garages and bike rooms.
The city Department of Transportation missed its bike rack installation goal by nearly 1,000 racks last year, Orcutt noted.
“It’s definitely a space issue. Nobody has a garage at home here,” he said.
“What you do have in a lot of big buildings are underutilized parking garages, which could be used for bikes.”
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