A vicious cycle of theft at T stations

Tranist Police Patrolman Thompson hands cyclist Laura Nasuti a pamphlet on cycle theft prevention. Bicycle thefts have reached a new high on T property this year.

Last year, bike thefts at T stations reached a 12-year high.

But this year, larcenies are even worse.

Transit Police Deputy Chief Joseph O’Connor said as T ridership spiked, a larger number of people parked their bikes at MBTA stations.

And with that came more thefts.

According to Transit Police statistics, 170 bikes to date have been stolen systemwide compared to 156 for all of 2010.

As new bike racks fill up fast during morning commutes, people put their bikes other places in a rush to catch a train, said O’Connor.

“They are locking them to signs and poles that aren’t designed to secure bikes and that makes them more vulnerable for theft,” he said.

Transit Police Lt. Robert Lenehan said rising gas prices have also led to more people commuting by bike to T stations, which has contributed to the increase.

In Lenehan’s district, which incorporates certain Red Line stops, officers have launched an awareness program to thwart bike thefts.

While some problem stations in his district, like Alewife, saw a drop in bicycle larcenies, he said larceny is still the No. 1 problem for T police overall.

“We have experienced bike thefts this year in locations where we have never had bike thefts in the past,” said Lenehan.

Lenehan said Cambridge in particular has experienced an upswing in reported thefts as it’s bike- friendly reputation grows.

“This is representative of the growing trend in bike theft not just across the MBTA, but also across the commonwealth,” he said.

Info on safety for your bike

From 4 to 6:30 p.m. today, officers and Red Line workers will be stationed at several locations to talk about bicycle theft and safety. The outreach is aimed at preventing bicycle theft by stressing the importance of bike security.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear


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