Over the last two decades, bike theft has shown increased numbers. Bicycle theft has been categorized as a low priority problem by the police department. But because a bicycle has increasingly gained popularity as an alternative transportation as it is much healthier, economical and it is environmentally friendly.
Due to this, there has been a lot of effects from the increase in bike sales in the United States:
- Less carbon dioxide emissions, thus air quality has improved
- Less traffic and noise pollution
- Less fear of obesity and heart disease
- Reduced costs for road and infrastructure maintenance
Some reports say that fear of bike theft may discourage cycling use. Preventing bike theft, therefore, should be a top priority to continue supporting a more sustainable mode of transport.
Bike theft is categorized according to the thief’s purpose:
- Refer to those who steal a bike for enjoyment and after they use the stolen ride, they just abandon it.
- Those who steal numerous bikes to order.
- Those who steal a bike and trade it for another type of good, like drugs.
Knowing such motivations, owners can protect themselves from being a victim and prevent crime multiplication by purchasing a stolen bike to replace their stolen bike. Reports also show where bikes are commonly stolen:
- Bike racks located in public parking spaces
- Around the victim’s home
- Around the victim’s workplace
This must be addressed in order to give bike owners safety and security.
Why are bikes being stolen?
Bicycles are attractive objects for theft because of the following reasons:
- Available. Due to the increased usage of bicycles, replacement parts are very much available for purchase in bike shops. The theft can dismantle the parts and sell them individually. Another common thing is they modify the stolen bike for it to look differently making it hard to identify by the real owner.
- Removable. Simple locks for bikes making it easy to break.
- Enjoyable. People steal a bike because of their desire to own one but have no means to buy for themselves or this may be a replacement for something that has also been stolen from them.
- Valuable. Bicycles are not really cheap. Some people would know which brands are expensive and these become their target for stealing. Most recovered stolen bikes are the cheap ones, while expensive ones are hard to retrieve.
Now, what should you do when the worst thing happens to your bike? Here are some helpful recommendations for faster retrieval of your stolen bike.
· Report theft to the Police
The most important and basic step to do is to call the nearest police department and make a report about it. Make sure to give all the details especially markings on your bicycle which you think will make the search and identification easier. Do not forget to take your reference number for the progress report.
· Report lost to a bike registration service or site
Some sites for bike ownership handle databases for purchased bikes in a certain country or state. Even if you did not initially register your bike upon purchase, you can give them a call and report it as a lost bike. This will give information to the public or to the police that the bike is in the wrong hands.
· Inform your community and bike shops around your area
Create flyers or posters and post them around your neighborhood. Put a clear photo of your bike. You can also post this on social media, thieves may try to resell your bike online thru eBay, craigslist or Facebook marketplace, the online community can report this if ever they encounter your bike on sale. You may also keep a connection between local bike shops. Giving them information and registration details about your stolen bike can alert them if somebody sells them.
If you see that your bike is being sold online, be very careful. You don’t need to make the purchase online or meet with the seller, seek help from the police or from private investigators. They can help you trace the address and contact numbers of the thief and track him down, you can check out Victory Investigations on how investigative services can make the process of tracking down the offender effectively without you being involved directly. Again, never do the negotiation yourself as this can pose a risk to your safety.
· Review Surveillance Cameras
If the location where the bike was stolen has surveillance cameras, you can request for a review on what has been captured during the incident. You can get private investigators to do this for you. Most investigating groups will use the information to track down the offender.
· Report it to your insurance company
Once you have reported the incident to the police you should also report it to your insurer. Make sure to give them your reference numbers from the police report. This may be covered, just check with the policy that you have. Give them enough proof to show ownership of your bike. When getting insurance, consider getting a policy that gives the replacement value rather than the cash value or checks that the reimbursements will not be too limited.
· Set up Google alerts
Create google alerts that would match your bike. With this, you will get notifications if your bike has been posted online for sale or even when a police raid takes place in bike junk shops. You can check out the raid if your bike is one of the units being sold.
· Join a bike recover group
If most people in your community have bikes or use them daily for transportation, there can be a group for owners whose bikes might have been missing. You may join this group, most popularly created on Facebook. The community might be helpful in retrieving lost bikes and bringing them back to the owners.
Always think positive and don’t give up. Taking these recommendations will help you recover that bike. You have a bunch of resources and they can all be helpful to get your bike back into your possession.