bike theft toronto

Bike stolen from prominent Toronto politician and the reactions are polarizing

A strong voice at City Hall for Toronto's cycling community is furious over the theft of her own bicycle on Monday.

Many are throwing their support behind Ward 13 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and pledging to help track down her stolen ride, but others are less sympathetic.

Bike thefts have been a growing problem in Toronto these past few years. Police data reveals that a staggering average of almost 3,700 bicycles are stolen from city streets each year.

A total of 3,950 bike thefts were recorded in 2020, a rate of almost 11 bicycles per day. This figure was not too far behind a peak of 4,004 thefts in 2018 across the six years measured.

According to Matt Elliott’s City Hall Watcher, the number sits slightly lower at 3,833 thefts. Just 51 of the bikes stolen in 2020 were recovered, a recovery rate of 1.33 per cent using the lower of the two theft counts as a base.

Wong-Tam is offering a cash reward for the return of her bike, no questions asked. Still, the hopelessly low police recovery rate does not instill confidence even with an incentive to return the stolen property.

The vast majority of bike thefts occur in Downtown Toronto, where cycling is most prevalent. Cyclists' prominence in the city's core, where voters tend to swing further left, has proven to be yet another fault line in the growing divide between the left and right wings of Canadian politics.

Wong-Tam has championed the construction of cycling infrastructure and advocated for the rights of the homeless community in her ward.

Many in her ward support these stances, though some are footing blame on the councillor due to her work in advancing temporary shelters for the local homeless population and a perceived uptick in crime.

Other comments are critical of the councillor — with a generous taxpayer-funded salary — publicly complaining about the loss of her bike as others in her ward struggle to make ends meet.

Lead photo by

Kristyn Wong-Tam

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