…so says the Reno Gazette Journal, anyway. Bike theft has become a huge problem in Reno this summer, and Burning Man is getting blamed. Bike theft on the Playa has been a big problem for the last few years, too – even Burning Man acknowledges that. Lock up your bikes, people! Just because there is a culture of Gifting, doesn’t mean that there isn’t also a growing culture of Taking and Entitlement. Bike MOOP is also a growing problem, too, with thousands of bikes being abandoned on the Playa every year.
From the RGJ:
Police: Reno bike thefts up; suspected Burning Man link
Bike theft is the No. 1 property crime in Reno’s downtown corridor this summer, police say — and Burning Man could be an accessory.
“It’s a timing thing,” Thompson said. “The only time we receive this volume each year is (the weeks) prior to the event,” which begins Aug. 25 and lasts for one week.
Bicycling is the main source of transportation at the event, held on the playa about 100 miles north of Reno.
Kevin Campbell, a Reno Bike Project mechanic, said the number of fliers for stolen bikes at the Reno Bike Project have outpaced those in previous years by a significant amount.
“There’s been a large string of bike thefts this year,” Campbell said. “It is actually really bad.”
Campbell attributed the rise in bike theft to more people riding bikes, whether as a result of the city’s emerging bike culture or favorable weather conditions, he said.
Campbell denied seeing a link between Burning Man and bike theft in Reno, and Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham agreed.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Graham said.
The Yellow Bike Program, a community bike program providing free-rental use, has been in existence for years to prevent bike theft at Burning Man, and the festival acknowledges the crime is an issue on the playa.
To catch bike thieves in Reno, the downtown enforcement team plants high-end bikes in the downtown district under officer surveillance.
“In year’s past, it has been successful,” Thompson said.
However, no one has taken the bait this year, Thompson said.
Using the right lock, most often a U-lock mounted to a sturdy base, ideally a bike rack, is the best way to combat theft, Campbell and Thompson said.
“Always lock your bike,” Campbell said. “Even if you are just running quickly inside a store, you don’t want to leave the bike unlocked. It takes less than 30 seconds to steal a bike.”
Thompson said people should also keep a record of their bike’s serial number.