ChainLinkers: A ‘Thoughtful Discussion’ On Bicycle Theft

Background Reading


The one thing sure to make a ChainLinker irate is having his picture taken or being quoted by screen name on this blog. ChainLinkers seem to think that any attempt to actually have the identity of an individual exposed is as one put it, ‘rude‘. Now I truly hope that this fellow is actually stealing a bike since if he is working for the building and removing it because of a complaint from the owners or it happens, just happens to be his very own bike, then wow, talk about ‘rude‘.

A Purported Bicycle Thief In Action

A Purported Bicycle Thief In Action

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 16 hours ago
One day dude will come across another dude his size or bigger and get the rest of those ugly teeth knocked out.

Reply by Mark 4 hours ago
This is why they don’t want concealed carry in Chicago. In Wisconsin, you could legally put a bullet in him.

Reply by rwein5 1 hour ago
killing someone over a bike? you must be using your gang logic. try living in the 21st century.

Reply by notoriousDUG 1 hour ago
Because that is a totally rational response to bike theft…

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 27 minutes ago
Pulling a gun on a thief is a perfectly rational response, especially in this situation. It immediately levels the playing field and saves the property. And if a person is brazen enough to continue stealing a bike with a gun pointed at him, a couple bullets in the leg until the cops show up are perfectly appropriate. (If he comes at the gun-holder, a couple in the head are just as appropriate.) We need to stop acting like sitting around and complaining is going to ever make things better. People in this city steal and kill each other at chart-topping rates and it’s precisely due to our chart-topping restrictions on fire-arms.

I know some people think they have to be on a certain side of this issue because they don’t want to go against all the other issues their favorite political party stands for. That’s simply an incorrect assumption and whatever efforts are being made by said political party to hurt an industry that is generally very supportive of the other political party should not get in the way of regular people protecting themselves and their property. Coward millionaire and billionaire politicians standing behind 10 taxpayer-funded, fully armed bodyguards don’t understand the plight of average citizens to protect themselves and their things.

I for one can’t wait for concealed carry and for more allies of the law to be around when bad things happen in our gun-restricted, crime-ridden city.

Also, here’s a video. Enjoy.

Reply by Michelle 15 minutes ago
Yay we can now turn chicago into the wild Wild West with bikes for horses….

Reply by notoriousDUG 12 minutes ago
You seriously think that shooting somebody, with a gun, is a viable response to minor property theft?

I like guns but people who think like you are exactly why I am against any kind of concealed carry laws. I dislike the crime and violence in the city but I have no desire to see it turned into the wild west. Think about what the city would be like with a bunch of people who think like you running around pulling a gun all the time?

Let me ask you some questions:

  • Do you have much experience or training handling a handgun? Not a riffle or other long gun but an actual handgun.
  • Do you have a concept of just how much damage a gunshot does to a person?

Reply by Davo 9 minutes ago
We’d still have these problems with conceal and carry. I seriously doubt that the fellows who shot up that park would have thought twice if they thought others would have guns in that situation. In fact, I’d bet they were counting on it.

Reply by Skip Montanaro 12mi 4 minutes ago
I would appreciate some proof of this assertion.
My feeling is that the people killing and being killed have guns already, so the presence of a gun in the hand of the guy who gets killed doesn’t appear to be a huge deterrent to the guy doing the shooting. (And it seems they are all guys.)

I thought this was the better rebuttal regarding gun control laws being ineffective in dealing with the violence currently being seen in our city.

Reply by David 4.0 12 minutes ago
Folks…all that is needed here is some Pepper Spray or CS Spray for any bike thief.
Criminals can sue after the fact and shooting them is not a great idea. However, spraying them with pepper spray is a much better approach then responding with a gun…IJS

Because of bike thieves, I always lock my bikes with 2 different bike locks.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 10 minutes ago
Respectfully disagree.

Reply by Rebecca 8 minutes ago
Only on the Chainlink does a friendly warning about proper bike locking and a bike theft turn into a debate about gun control.
Sad thing is we could probably make more progress than Congress.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 8 minutes ago
I disagree with your assumption that people will be running around pulling guns all the time. The other 49 states have concealed carry and that’s simply not the case.

I won’t be responding to your idiotic personal attacks. Please stick to the argument. This isn’t about me.

notoriousDUG has a way of lapsing into CyberBully mode whenever the mood strikes him. He has done it again here with Tom and rightfully is being chastised.

Reply by Davo 4 minutes ago
We will have to agree to disagree then. Im sure that there is more to be said about this but I feel that there are other forums for that.

Reply by Michelle 3 minutes ago
Haha. I think any statement on any site on the entire internet is capable of becoming a gun control debate.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 30 seconds ago
You know that’s a fair point. I mean, I could go and link you to murder stats and gun restriction law stats but that argument would not be scientific. So I guess it’s just a feeling as well on my end.

My argument was for this more limited context: a person doing evil in public in a crowded place. I am of the belief that the number of those seeking good will far outnumber those seeking evil and as such having everyone armed means good always outnumbers evil. It’s pretty simplistic but I think it’s accurate. Of course people generally don’t get murdered for no reason; there is some other bigger issue (often drug-related) that goes beyond whether or not a citizenry is armed.

Reply by notoriousDUG 59 seconds ago
So I will just take that as an admission you know very little about gangs and the culture of violence that surrounds them.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 3 minutes ago
Lol more personal attacks.

Reply by notoriousDUG 43 seconds ago
Those are not personal attacks, those are very real questions that have a bearing on your position in this.

If you have little to no experience with handguns you may not be aware just how inaccurate they are and how much danger there is to their use in public.

if you have no idea how much damage a bullet does you may not have any idea just how much damage shooting somebody in the leg can do or have a concept of the hazards to other people around are.

Carrying a gun makes you much more likely to be involved in a violent gun crime.

Reply by notoriousDUG 13 minutes ago
But what about when the outnumbered bad decides to go down shooting and takes a whole bunch of people with them?

notoriousDUG has just left his area of expertise (bike mechanics) and wandered into a gun fight armed with his knife.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 10 minutes ago
Great comment. Something important to consider.

Reply by Rich S 5 minutes ago
These two guys were probably both “good” people but they ended up killing each other in Michigan just last week. Unfortunately good people still do bad things especially when emotional or under the influence.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 3 minutes ago
People don’t really decide to “go down.” Though I guess anything’s possible.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 3 minutes ago
Great point and I think you’re totally right. And laws like various degrees of murder totally support the idea that these sorts of situations will exist.

I wish we could live in a world with no arms. That would be the most ideal. However, I don’t see that as ever being a reality and as such to me it’s fruitless to only disarm the good even if situations like this sometimes exist. My hope is that rather than trying to pretend that we live in a gun-free world, we can teach people responsible gun ownership so that they have a logical framework that can balance emotional situations. It’s not really a fair comparison but a lot of people get really irate when driving yet the vast majority don’t break the rules of the road as a result (and even if they do it’s usually to get away from someone rather than to hurt them). Gun ownership needs to have similar licensing and educational requirements (of course not such that they are prohibitive in nature like IL had) to give the good people with guns the best framework of dealing with all situations.

Again, I do respect where you’re coming from and it’s something important to consider.

Reply by Rebecca 2 minutes ago
Love the disclaimer by wikipedia…
“This article is about the natural instinct of an organism. For the video game based on the TV series, see The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct”

Reply by Kevin C 3 hours ago
[insert Nazi analogy here]

Reply by Mr. Ray Joe Hall 3 hours ago
Gun restrictions don’t go very far when you can buy one with a toothless background check anywhere outside city limits. You’ll maybe get six months in jail if you do get caught with one. Something like 80% of the gun violence in Chicago is drug related. And 99% of is poverty related. CCW isn’t going to fix ANY of that.

A white guy living in Roscoe Village is safer from violent crime than in such gun-friendly places like St. Louis, Atlanta, or Memphis. CCW will, however, bring a lot more of this to Chicago. Please go take your attitude to Somalia if you want to live in a city like that.

Reply by Rebecca 3 hours ago
I grew up in Texas. lots of guns……I personally knew several people that died due to gun violence/mistakes. If I was a teenager in the South Side, this list would probably be a lot longer.

RIP friends

  • Thomas, 13 – shot in the head while playing hide and go seek with his 4 year old brother. He was consistently 5th chair in the trumpet section of our band.
  • Dustin, 16 – shot in the face by his girlfriend who was joking about the gun not being loaded. He was on the pep squad.
  • Jeremy, 18 – shot in a road rage incident on highway 75 when he and another car kept cutting each other off, would have gone to the funeral – but it was on 9/11. He was awesome at technical theater.

I think I’d totally be for guns if their weren’t so many undeserving, unintended, innocent victims out there.…

Reply by h’ 1.0 3 hours ago
When people make these head-scratching “only on chainlink” statements all I can figure out is that maybe their only other exposure to the internet is gmail and Facebook.

God love you ‘h. For some odd reason you seem wed to the notion that the ChainLink is either no worse than any other cesspool or the person making the claims that this place has invariably reached anew low is all wrong.

Reply by notoriousDUG 2 hours ago
Well do you know much about them?
Do you know about the crazy short life expectancy for game members? It’s a bunch of kids who expect to die young violent deaths; they give zero fucks about if the person they want to shoot is armed because they are going to shoot first.
Like the other stuff if you don’t know much about it you have an uninformed opinion. Do you want people who have no idea about biking making decisions? Same applies here.

Reply by Mr. Ray Joe Hall 2 hours ago
Every discussion on Facebook is about gun control.

Reply by notoriousDUG 2 hours ago
If this is true why do so many people shoot at cops and then end up dead?

Reply by Rebecca 2 hours ago
Rest assured, I’m all OVER THE INTERNET! I just marvel at the abilities of chainlink forums to get so off topic so fast. ie. a thread about celebrating a clarified bike law turns into a debate about ebikes (that had limited to no relevancy in the law). There is a lot of discussion hijacking and for some reason I thought the cycling community was smarter and more respectful than that.

Bingo! This is the very point that always puzzles me, too. When you read the impressions that ChainLinkers have of themselves and their ideals you always get the feeling that you are listening to a group that thinks far more highly of themselves than they have any right to, given the level of their discussions.

Reply by XndeX 2 hours ago
Ladies and gentlemen we are definitely having a good discussion.
However we have went so far off topic that it can now be seen from outer space!
(No seriously it can be seen! ) All joking aside though, this bike thief is very brazen and does not care.
Never mind the underlying issue that 2 bikes were not properly locked up.
Just be on the lookout for this thief and approach with extreme caution!

That last remark about ‘approaching with extreme caution‘ strikes me as coding for ‘he is armed and dangerous and you should take steps to defend yourself‘. I would guess that until such time as we verify that this is actually an image of a bicycle theft in progress, perhaps we should ratchet down the hyperbole before someone gets killed.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 2 hours ago
I’m sorry about your #WhiteGuyProblems.

Just so you know, Somolia isn’t really a place with many guns.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 2 hours ago
I’d genuinely love to learn more. Please tell us about your experiences in the gang world.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 2 hours ago
What % of police encounters end with bullets being fired at the cops? Please provide a source.
(I’m not trying to minimize anyone shooting at cops in any way, it’s a really f-ed up thing that happens sometimes.)

Reply by Drewbacca 2 hours ago

Why is anyone even arguing with this guy? He’s either Rambo or a troll.

Drewbacca after your performance on Sunday on the Tweed Ride thread I would think you of all people would refrain from incitement and just stay on the sidelines. Why is that that calling a person a troll is the last refuge of the inept?

Reply by notoriousDUG 2 hours ago
Because I can’t help it sometimes…
@Tom, I live in a neighborhood that has a lot of gun violence. My neighbors are gang members and I talk to them from time to time. A very good friend lives in an even more violent neighborhood and frequently talks to the corner boys in her area. The overwhelming theme is that many of them expect to be shot or to have to shoot somebody because that is the world they live in; people get shot over turf, girls or revenge. I know that to get out of the gangs peoples options are beat downs or being shot in the leg and that the lifestyle is hard to escape.
Last year at this time my neighbor was shot over a turf conflict igniting my neighborhood and there were multiple shootings on my block in a very short period. I live with gun violence everyday, do you? What do you know about gangs?
As for shooting at cops it is a very small percentage but it still happens and if more people have guns the number of confrontations go up which means the number of incidents of violence so up; I also think that a criminal is more likely to shoot at a civilian with a gun than a cop with a gun.

Sometimes? Try always. notoriousDUG has a compunction regarding arguing. His attempts at framing this argument around his vaunted knowledge of street gangs is laughable.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 2 hours ago
I’m not trying to troll. I make no effort to hide my identity, I genuinely and with the best intentions express my opinions, and I try to be respectful as I can of those who disagree with me (unless they attack me personally in which case I do my best but often fail). I’m not Rambo either though. I’m just a guy who cares.
I do feel bad for turning this thread into a gun debate. I didn’t know it would get people as upset as it did. It seems to me that unless one believes the second amendment will be repealed any time soon, “gun control” as we knew it for the last couple generations is over. SCOTUS has ruled. So these are important things to talk about. Maybe they should be discussed elsewhere though.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 1 hour ago
Thanks for sharing. I respect your point of view very much.

I don’t live in a gang-infested area (never have) but I do care about those areas as a Chicagoan most of my life (save college and a short Wall Street career right after).

What do you think of Otis McDonald and his argument?

Reply by Dean Bekken 1 hour ago
I see groups of punks – 2 to 3 to a group – riding around with “spare” wheels on their backs. Can we trouble the CPD to ask these kids where they live, maybe follow them home?

Sorry, but whenever I read a thread in which we admittedly understand and agree that being the Murder Capital of the Midwest is not flattering, my breath is taken away when someone suggests that three kids on bikes with “spare” wheels should be followed home by the cops. What on Earth is the matter with our sense of priorities? Have we gone mad?

Reply by h’ 1.0 1 hour ago
It’s an open/unmoderated forum, and thus anyone can post regardless of whether they have the chainlink’s best interests at heart. I’m sure it’s not lost on you that nary a discussion goes by without someone popping in to declare their superiority to those ‘other’ chainlink users with blanket, overgeneralized disparaging characterizations.
Someday I’ll figure out who’s forcing those individuals to stoop to participating here.

I’ve been on many an open and unmoderated forum. But the ChainLink while not being the worst ever visited is challenging for supremacy in that area.

Reply by h’ 1.0 1 hour ago
Does this campaign to get the CPD to care about bike theft move from internet musings to real-life action at some point?

Ground Hog Day

Ground Hog Day

Come on ‘h the level of ‘real-life action‘ for ChainLinkers has been set quite low. Either we arrive at photo ops and ride around looking self-satisfied or we circle Daley Plaza on our bikes on the last Friday of each month, again looking self-satisfied. Above that the best anyone can hope for is a contribution or two to some fundraiser to help amortize the bills accrued by one of our own.

Reply by Skip Montanaro 12mi 1 hour ago

I think it would be nice. Is this something we can hope Active Trans will lead? If not, can they support people who do lead the charge with statistics, tactical information and such?
I view organizations like CPD as huge, inscrutable bureaucracies. I think you need some knowledge of the inner workings of the organization to have a prayer of getting your proposal to the proper people.

Well played Skip. After nearly a full workdays worth of blathering there is a drum roll and suddenly Active Transportation Alliance has yet another thing to do to earn their keep. I’d suggest that a subcommittee of route markers be pulled together and tasked with find a ‘real-world solution‘ to bike theft.

Reply by Tom Dworzanski 59 minutes ago
My gut feeling is they should be running sting operations. But I don’t know if I like the idea of loading up our jails with bike thieves because I don’t think serious criminals would waste their time on bikes. Maybe just a hefty ($1,000) ticket and a driver’s license revocation (turning the thief into a bike rider worried about thieves stealing his bike — the ultimate justice!)

Reply by David Barish 52 minutes ago
Wow. I happened upon this thread. I see a picture of a guy stealing a bike and hoped to see an on line discussion of how the picture is helping catch the bad guy and reunite the bike owner with his/her lost bike. Instead I see a discussion of how the guy should have been shot and a policy debate. I have a strong opinion in that regard and will keep it to myself because it does not matter for this thread. Lets assume the thief was not shot and that Rebecca had a camera phone as her weapon. ok, lets move on. Do the Police have this picture? Has anybody seen the guy? Are we helping anything like this community has done in the past where on line CSI has helped reconstruct accidents? Just wondering.

Reply by Drewbacca 1 hour ago

It’s really hard to take anyone seriously after suggesting to shoot a thief in the leg… even if in jest, any thoughts of a serious discussion go out the window at that point.

Reply by h’ 1.0 1 hour ago
Unfortunately there’s not a damn thing you can do with a picture of a guy allegedly stealing a bike in Chicago city limits. Your only option is to intervene as it’s happening.

First meaningful thing you have said all day, ‘h.

Reply by djm 56 minutes ago
I dont want to contribute to this thread except to note that a shot to the leg can be fatal in minutes if an artery is struck.

Reply by Michelle 42 minutes ago
Is this true?
I mean, if so, what is the point of security cameras etc… ? If not to catch an image. Would it be better if the photographer had snapped a series of photos of the bolt cutting, and then riding away with the bike?

Reply by h’ 1.0 32 minutes ago
Have been there with security stills/video/witness affidavits and there was no way to get CPD follow-up (Kevin C can probably explain better if willing, but this is such an old wound for us that he’s probably not…).
In particular, in this case– we have no known victim of the theft. Thus we have a photo of someone with no crime. If a victim comes forward, what are the chances they have proof of ownership- 25%?
So let’s say they have incontrovetible proof of ownership (e.g. a bill of sale with matching serial number.)
And let’s say you have a series of photographs showing this guy clearly cutting a lock to take the bike.
Then what?
It would completely depend on the detective that is eventually assigned to the case after a theft report is filed, i.e. whether they were willing to do anything. What would you want them to do?

(And to the value of security cameras– prmary deterrent, when you live in one of many major US metropoli that is no longer able to devote police resources to investigating property crimes due to drowning in violent crimes.)

Reply by Marcus Moore 8 minutes ago
Do you mean like stop and frisk? What about the non-punks carrying “spare wheels” (jk- joke).
Have you ever been stopped, searched or detained by cops for “looking suspicious”? It’s not fun-let me assure you. That kind of action can actually hurt community respect for the police.
Aside from that- I don’t know what the solutions to this problem are. Theft is a frustrating problem- for sure.

Reply by Skip Montanaro 12mi 3 minutes ago
The difficulty connecting a bike with its owner and having the necessary evidence of a crime makes a sting operation attractive. I don’t think you want random John Q. Citizen types conducting stings, so you have to convince CPD that’s a worthwhile effort. Some police departments are doing this. I don’t know what it would take to get something like this off the ground in Chicago.

Reply by h’ 1.0 35 minutes ago
Skip, if there’s ever a bike sting done by CPD there will be exactly one, and the intent will be to be able to put out a press release about it for deterrent value. And they’ll probably nab some crack-head rather than anyone who is responsible for any significant percentage of theft.
And maybe then there might be another a few years later.
A cop I know who has an interest in bikes has got his department to do a few stings, and he characterizes it as devoting long, boring hours without much of a result to justify the resources.

Reply by in it to win it 8.0 mi 30 minutes ago
Lock up correctly…then you don’t need a gun, mace, baseball bat…
I don’t know what the solutions to this problem are.

Agreed that locking up correctly is best. But I still do not understand why more people are not flocking to their local bike shop to purchase Brompton folding bikes? Aside from Divvy bikes why should any other bike be left outdoors, unattended, ever?

Reply by Cameron 7.5 mi 16 minutes ago
As h’ said earlier the problem with Chicago is that the police really aren’t interested in property crimes. The main benefit of cameras is that people behave better when they think they’re being watched, and it can sometimes help with insurance claims. In cities or towns where there are police resources that can be devoted to property crimes, it comes down to what does the picture/video show. Video is probably more likely to be useful because it is more likely to show a crime. The OP’s picture doesn’t show a crime, it shows a man with a bike. With a different caption, that picture could have a completely different meaning.

Perhaps it’s a matter of priority. Murder and gun violence are further up the food chain in terms of priorities than bike theft for sure.