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Mapping San Francisco's Stolen Bike Hotspots Reveals Where Not To Park Your Bike

Compiled with data from the SFPD's bike theft reports, this map offers a clue to where thieves operate.

Mapping San Francisco's Stolen Bike Hotspots Reveals Where Not To Park Your Bike

[Image: Stolen bike via Shutterstock]

A thriving urban bike culture can lead to a lot of upsides: Increased awareness of everyone on the road, healthier ways of getting to work, decreased energy consumption, and cleaner air. But more bikes on the streets also mean more bikes to steal on the street. And maybe it’s better to wise up than lock up your frame in a bike thief’s front yard.

That’s where this new map of San Francisco’s stolen bike hotspots comes in. Seismograph, a new website with some sort of data-mapping intention (though its creators say they don’t really know what it will become), gathered data from San Francisco Police Department bike theft reports, then plotted them all over the city.

Credit: Seismograph.

It’s not entirely comprehensive. The bike map’s author concedes that one theft-centric address actually turned out to be a police station, which was likely substituted as an address when no other theft site was available. So those sites were left out. Otherwise, the data revealed some interesting thieving trends, like taking bikes parked near the San Francisco General Hospital, for one. Seismograph also ran an analysis of the time of day bikes were reported as stolen. Noon and 6 p.m were the most popular times. Then again, noon and 6 p.m. also correspond with lunch and when many leave work—so perhaps the bikes were stolen before, but their thefts only noticed at those times.

Credit: Seismograph.

The Seismograph map isn’t the first of its kind; it follows a long tradition of bike theft maps, which have also been launched in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, and Boston.