A large number of people have been affected by the increasing rate of bike thefts, with over 40 000 bike thefts reported each year in the UK alone. The figures don’t lie, bike thieves are certainly a growing problem, and despite being a commonly stolen item, it’s still pretty easy to prevent bike theft if you know what you’re doing. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most effective ways of preventing bike theft, as well as what you can do if it does happen to you.
As we’ve established, bike theft is on the rise, and although many people are affected by this, it’s still a largely preventable problem. The best way to prevent your bike from being stolen is by making it less attractive to thieves in the first place; this can be done by using a bit of creative chipping or discolouring on the frame, fork, and/or wheels of your bike. A few chipped or scratched frames will make your bike instantly recognisable as a stolen item, and it’ll be unlikely that anyone, even if they are skilled bike thieves, will try to sell it as it’ll be easily identified as a cheap, poor-quality knock-off.
Another effective way of preventing bike theft is to look for unusual ways the item is packaged or carried. Bike thieves will commonly use a carrying case to transport your bike, and if you want to be sure that it won’t be stolen, don’t be tempted to use a standard bike bag; they’re very common and are designed for multi-use, so it’s likely that your bike will end up in the hands of a thief if it’s packaged in a normal bike bag. Instead, look for cases that are designed for storing items such as surfboards, snowboards, and other sports equipment, as these are the types of items that are routinely stolen and sold by bike thieves for money.
It’s a pretty well-established fact that most bike thieves are opportunistic criminals who’ll break into any vehicle they come across, whether or not it’s locked. If you want to prevent your bike from being stolen, remove the keys! Most importantly, make sure that the key for your bike is not inside your car or any other vehicle driven by you, as these criminals look for easy targets and are often found in car parks and other accessible places. If you think that one of your friends, family, or co-workers might try and steal your bike, then remove all of its keys or move them to a different location each time you use the vehicle. This way, you’ll discourage them from trying to steal your bike as it’s not easy to justify the time and effort that goes into stealing a vehicle with the simple aim of breaking into a locked bike to steal it. Even something as simple as leaving the key in the ignition can make your bike vulnerable to theft, so be sure to remove it whenever you park your car or leave it anywhere unattended.
Many people choose not to remove the keys from their bike out of fear of losing the keys. However, this is one of the primary ways that bike theft occurs, as many a times, the keys have been left inside the vehicle and the thieves have simply used the bike as a stepping stone to break into the car. Installing a bike lock onto your bike is the simplest and most effective way of preventing bike theft, and it’s important to note here that not all bike locks are created equal. In order to deter thieves, look for a bike lock that’s both visible and audible from outside the vehicle.
Surveillance cameras with built-in speakers have made it incredibly easy for victims of bike theft to monitor and catch thieves in the act. If you’ve ever watched a movie or TV Show where a character is trying to track down a criminal who’s stolen their car, you’ll know that they’ll go through basically every possible surveillance camera location looking for footage of their stolen vehicle. The same goes for bike thieves, and if you want to reduce the number of bike thefts taking place, increase the number of security cameras you have around your home and on your block. If possible, put up cameras in hard-to-reach places like above car ports and under cover on outdoor areas such as patios and balconies. Make sure that the cameras are not only pointed in the right direction, but that they have sufficient lighting so that the image is crisp and there aren’t any shadows obscuring the ID of the item being stolen. Additionally, a TV screen showing the live stream from one of the cameras is far more effective as a deterrent than simply having a camera pointed at an empty wall.
As you can see from the above, there are many ways in which you can prevent bike theft. Be sure to use the above tips, along with your phone’s anti-theft tools, to protect your bike. And if you’ve ever been a victim of bike theft, don’t be afraid to report it to the police; they may be able to help you get your bike back. You can also report it to the local Crimestoppers charity in case you feel like you can’t bring yourself to tell the police, or if you simply want to keep your identity hidden for privacy reasons.