An agenda item requesting the city attorney to draft an ordinance restricting the dismantling, reassembling, selling and offering for sale multiple bikes and bike parts in public spaces throughout the city will be brought to Long Beach City Council on Tuesday, February 13.
To be introduced by Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price, the item is supported by Fourth District Councilman Daryl Supernaw, Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews and Eighth District Councilman Al Austin.
“You cannot dismantle a car parked in public space, the same should be the case when there are multiple bikes being taken apart, reassembled, sold, and stored in parks, beaches, and sidewalks,” Price said in a statement. “By giving the police another tool to address this problem we can make more progress on improving our open spaces and reducing crime.”
Between 2012 and 2016 an average of 653.6 bikes were stolen a year, with a high of 828 instances reported in 2012, according to the Long Beach Police Department. Theft has decreased since then with 309 instances reported in 2017.
Stolen bikes are often dismantled and sold soon after being taken, offering a narrow opportunity for them to be recovered “while they are being taken apart in public spaces and before they are sold and taken out of the city,” the item states. “These open-air chop shops can be seen throughout the city, but confronting the illegal activities that this practice supports is difficult without better tools to reduce the occurrences.”
The agenda item also listed lack of effective bicycle registration and the city not being able to regulate online marketplaces like Craiglist and Offer-Up as problems fueling bike theft. The topic of whether bicycles should have to be registered is still being evaluated by city council.
Being able to address chop shops would allow the city to better address broader criminal issues, including possible prosecution and connection of services through diversion and rehabilitation programs. Unaddressed chop shops become areas avoided by residents, “weaken” the city’s commitment to clean streets and “harm general quality of life,” according to the release from Price’s office.
“Bicycle thefts continue to be a pressing issue in Long Beach fueled by a lack of effective registration for bicycles, and illegal drug sales that combine to create an opportunity and a motive for the reselling of multiple bicycles and bicycle parts in public space,” Price said in a statement. “A new ordinance putting a stronger focus on this clear problem could go a long way to improving communities, reducing crime, and potentially getting necessary services to those selling multiple bikes in public.”
You can read the agenda item here.
The city council will meet at 5:00PM in the Council Chamber at City Hall, located at 333 West Ocean Boulevard.
Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her on Twitter and Instagram @theasiamorris and via email at [email protected]
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