Bike theft

Installing chips on bikes (via meta-blogger John Pawlenko) in order to reduce soaring theft rates (PDF) sounds great, but one suspects that deputy mayor Jordi Portabella is, as usual, more interested in a sexy headline than a workable solution. For example, there’s no point in having bike chips without creating a (Euro-)regional or national register of stolen bikes, since the first thing professional thieves do is dump bikes in a lorry and transport them to another market. Another problem is that chips that are not built into bike frames are removable by all but the most incompetent criminal, so that to make the scheme work properly you would need to replace most of the city’s bike stock with bikes which aren’t commercially available anyway. A third problem is the lack of any mention of police resourcing.

A more pragmatic approach–again based on Dutch experience–might be to encourage private provision of garages with swipe-card access and video security in unused shop space across town (like the one on Hostal d’en Sol) or, since there is high unemployment here, to convert every last lazy squatter scumbag into a low-grade public watchman with a dinky little peaked cap and gold braid. This corps, apart from stopping old ladies being mugged and smoking drugs (ganja grannies deserve everything they get, I hear you say), could guard bike parks at high theft locations like Plaça de la Universitat.

I regard all these solutions as equally useless and am happy to announce that this Friday kalebeul, in collaboration with Raytheon, will launch a new generation of GPS-equipped two-wheelers. When a theft report shows up on the panoptic panel attached to my bath, I will launch a Cruise missile, fry the bastards, and then go back to playing with my new set of plastic ducks, who I love very dearly.

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