August 11, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

The Life and Time of Bike Crime in Venice Beach

Officer TK Kim and Watch Commander Scotty Stevens of Pacific Division’s PCU.

by Melanie Camp.

While bicycle thefts are down thirty percent compared to this time last year, Pacific Division Watch Commander Scotty Stevens told Yo! Venice he’s been watching those numbers creep up over the last couple of weeks and warns, unless people take precautions, we can expect bike crimes to increase as Summer heats up.

“You’ll probably see it, maybe not at the levels it was last year, but heading that direction,” Stevens said, explaining that as more people spend time out and about on their bikes over Summer, there will most likely be an increase in the levels of stolen bikes.

Stevens attributes the decrease over the past several months to work he and the now disbanded Pacific Division Parol Compliance Unit (PCU) did to clean out homeless encampments in the Ballona Wetlands. “There’s just no place to hide them now,” said Stevens.

In February last year Yo! Venice followed Stevens into the Wetlands and witnessed encampments where piles of bicycles and bicycle parts lay all around. Invisible to passing commuters and patrol cars, the tangle of tent cities strewn throughout the Ballona Wetlands provided a myriad of hiding places for stolen bicycles.

3. Bike Thefts
Canine Kenny told Yo! Venice the bikes at his camp were left by others.

At the time, one of Steven’s Officers David Navas explained the bikes Yo! Venice could see were most likely stolen, “that’s what they do, take them apart, sell them, and that’s how they get money for their drugs.” One of the homeless campers, Canine Kenny (who has since gone to jail) had a different explanation. He said people brought the bikes to him to fix, “they think for some odd reason, ‘oh anytime I get a flat, or anytime I need a wrench’ it’s like dude, no man, you can’t just leave it here. But they don’t listen they just leave it here anyway.”

There are now fewer camps in the Wetlands and bike crimes are down, and Stevens believes the two are no doubt related. “I think it’s harder to hide them here, now, out in the open than it was when so many were in the wetlands,” he said.

It took PCU seven long months to reduce homeless encampments the Wetlands. “That was a prolonged effort, at some points we were bringing in fifty bikes at a time,” said Stevens. Some of those bicycles are still at Pacific Division station in Culver City, and due to the sheer number of stolen bikes, some had to be shipped off to Valley Traffic Division. So, it’s likely, if you had your bike stolen in Venice sometime over the past 18 months it’s out in the Valley, and you can call Pacific Division to arrange a reunion.

1. Bike Thefts
Venice local Henry Hereford plans to keep his bike close over summer.

There are steps you can take to make it easier to get your bike back if it gets stolen. Registering your bicycle is one way, however, sometimes thieves will remove a serial number when they take a bike, so Stevens had a good tip, “put a number or mark that only you know somewhere no one would think to look. Like your birthdate on the inside of the wheel or under the seat.” Anything you can do to help identify your bicycle may help you get it back faster.

Often theft is a crime of opportunity.

“We have some bikes worth four thousand dollars sitting at the station. Sometimes, they get stolen because people forget to lock them up. You wouldn’t leave a four thousand dollar piece of jewelry laying out on the sidewalk, so why would you do that with your bike,” said Stevens.

While you may think a lock is a good safeguard, Stevens warns he’s seen videos that prove inadequate locks are useless. “We’ve seen videos of some people getting their bike’s stolen and these guys are good at what they do. They walk up to a lock and snap to open in a matter of ten seconds and then your bike is gone. They’re that good at it,” said Stevens.

To prevent bike crime this summer get a good lock, register your bicycle, and if you’ve had your bike stolen from Venice anytime in the past couple of years; you may just find it is out at Valley Traffic Division waiting for you to come pick it up.

Related Posts

“CBS This Morning” Co-Host Gayle King to Moderate Venice Family Clinic Panel on the Trauma of Incarceration

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

CBS This Morning” Co-Host Gayle King will moderate an online panel discussion about the Trauma of Incarceration that Venice Family...

Edify TV: Westsiders Embracing Aquatic Activities

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

While social and physical distancing continues, Westsiders have been taking to the ocean for some sunshine and recreation. Learn more...

Edify TV: Flurry of Development in Westside Neighborhood

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

A Westside neighborhood, known for its ramen restaurants and all things Japanese, is undergoing a flurry of development. Learn more...

Edify TV: Notable Westside Properties Hit Market

August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

From architecturally unique houses in Venice and Pacific Palisades to a property once valued at $100 million in Bel Air,...

Column: Nine-Bill Housing Package Derails Local Choices

August 7, 2020

August 7, 2020

By Tom Elias, Yo! Venice Columnist The silver lining provided by some past pandemics has been that they opened minds, awakening...

OpEd: The Real Results of Mike Bonin’s “Reimagining Public Safety” Survey

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

By Allan Parsons Author’s Note: At the request of Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office, this OpEd was removed 8/4/2020 until edits...

County to Not Issue Waivers for Elementary Schools to Hold In-Person Classes

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

Health officials cite high COVID-19 infection rate By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health officials have announced that they will...

Open Air Homes: Bringing High-End Rentals to LA

August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

By Toi Creel In 2012 Brad Greiner, an independent filmmaker found himself in a financial pinch where he could no...

Culver City Police Fatally Shoot Man

August 4, 2020

August 4, 2020

Culver City Police Department fatally shoots man Monday By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is investigating...

VNC Pass No-Confidence Vote for SPY Project

August 4, 2020

August 4, 2020

Venice Neighborhood Council July meeting recap Part 3 By Angela McGregor At their most recent meeting, the Venice Neighborhood Council...

County Officials ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About COVID-19 Spread

August 3, 2020

August 3, 2020

County health officials cite closure of bars and other indoor venues as factor behind trends By Sam Catanzaro Health officials...

Edify TV: Mike Bonin Talks Police Funding, Homelessness, Resident Satisfaction and More

July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin sits down (virtually) with Mirror Media Group Executive Producer Juliet Lemar to discuss decreased...

Cutting LAPD Budget’s Impact on Venice

July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020 1

Venice Neighborhood Council July meeting recap, Part 2. Read Part 1 here By Angela McGregor Last week the Venice Neighborhood...

Edify TV: A New Form of Trash in Santa Monica Bay

July 29, 2020

July 29, 2020 1

Aside from the usual plastic bottles, shopping bags and straws, a new form of trash has been turning up on...

VNC Offers Disapproval of Venice Wave Apartments

July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020 1

July Venice Neighborhood Council recap, part 1 By Angela McGregor The July, 2020 VNC Board Meeting — held via Zoom...