Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 24th, 2008 at 12:30 pm
Since summer is the peak of bike theft season, and many newbies are taking to the streets (with shiny new steeds) for the first time, I thought it was time for a bike theft prevention refresher course.
The other day, while locking up at a business in the Lloyd Center, I got a nice reminder about the #1 bike theft tip.
Someone from the Lloyd Transportation Management Association had placed stickers on all the racks with the catchy slogan of, A thief is able to cut your cable. Use stronger locks!.
Cable locks are a sure way to kiss your two-wheeled companion goodbye.
Here’s another frequent mistake that should need no explanation:
(Photo © J. Maus)
Locking mistakes are common, but another thing thieves love are people that leave bikes unlocked and unattended on their porches or in their yards (I know about that first hand!).
Robert Pickett is a Neighborhood Response Team officer with Portland Police Bureau’s Southeast Precinct. As part of his job, he reviews police reports from inner southeast neighborhoods like Buckman, Kerns, Laurelhurst, and others.
He recently told me that he’s “been struck by the similarities in reports of bicycles stolen from porches over the past couple of months.” Pickett says the victims are usually surprised their bikes were snagged, thinking that they were more secure because they were out of sight.
Of course, he also told me that 100% of the stolen bikes that were locked had been locked with cable locks.
Though he admits U-locks are not perfect, Pickett says that, “I’ve seen no recent reports of stolen bikes that had been locked with solid, U-locks”.
(Listen to it here.)
Continuing on the prevention front, reader Kevin H. sent along a link to the Siren Padlock. Made for bicycles, this long-shackle padlock detects shock and motion when tampered with, it emits a siren that is louder than a jet engine at 100 feet (which apparently can cause permanent damage without hearing protection).
Before your bike is gone, Pickett adds that recording the serial number from your is the “key factor” in increasing your chances of recovery. It’s also smart to photograph your bike and document the parts (that will also help with insurance claims).
If your bike gets ripped off, publicity and action is your friend. Post pictures around the area it was taken, send emails to your friends and post to bike-related forums and websites as much as you can. Then, gather up some friends and blanket the area your bike was last seen (keeping your phone at the ready to call for police back-up if necessary).
Speaking of web-based help. I must apologize for the BikePortland Stolen Bike Listings. The engine that runs them, Finetoothcog, has been experiencing technical difficulties and we’ll have it up and running as soon as possible.
In the meantime, check out more bike theft information and don’t forget your U-lock!