Stop Bike Theft
Nearly 2 million bikes are stolen in North America annually - one every 30 seconds.
In Vancouver alone, 5-6 bikes are stolen every day on average, 9 per day in the summer.
Today’s thieves are bold and well-organized, moving large numbers of bikes from city to city, and listing them on online marketplaces like Craigslist and Kijiji.
It is estimated that 15-35% of stolen bikes are recovered by law enforcement, but only about 2% can be returned to their owners due to chronic under-reporting. Serial numbers are rarely recorded by owners, and bike theft prevention systems and processes are error-prone, and divided across our region's many law enforcement jurisdictions.
While we love charitable giving, as many as 95% of recovered bikes in North America are donated or auctioned because ownership cannot be determined. Until all municipalities in the region commit to more secure, well-lit and monitored bike parking facilities, bike theft will continue to be easy, low-risk, high-profit - and a problem for everyone.
Here's How to Help Stop Bike Theft
- Secure It - the best way to protect yourself against bike theft is to park your bike in a secure bike parking facility, like many workplace bike rooms and cages, and the lockers and parkades provided at some TransLink stations. Other good choices include monitored parking facilities and locations, and high-visibility racks along retail store-fronts. See Lock It Well below!
- Record Your serial # - often on the underside of your pedal (crank) shaft - keep this number in a safe place
- Register It - use the free 529 Garage registry and app anywhere in Metro Vancouver. It alerts others that your bike is stolen and helps police recover and return it to you.
- Use 2 Locks- invest in a U-lock and a cable lock, and use both whenever possible. Never use only a cable lock.
- Lock it Well - watch this helpful video by HUB (and this VPD video) to learn how to prevent bike theft with good locking techniques
- Report Bike Theft - if your bike is stolen, report it to your local police ASAP, your best chance for safe return (and to stimulate action by the local policing community).
- Broadcast It - social networks have been proven to increase the chance of recovery - post a photo and details of your bike theft experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Look for It - watch online marketplaces, and report or flag suspicious listings.
Police and RCMP advise you to not attempt a 'sting' operation of your own; while some have been successful, the potential risk to you is far greater than the benefit of recovery. Always contact your local police for assistance.
Here is the VPD Log It, Lock It or Lose It campaign, and recommended bike registry app Project 529 Garage to make it harder for thieves to steal your bike. Project 529 also makes it easier for police to help get your bike back if it's stolen.
#LoveItLockIt - City of Surrey & Surrey Libraries
Our friends in Surrey are working hard to combat bike theft on their own through education materials and promotions. #LoveItLockIt includes posters, brochures and bike tags to reinforce bike theft prevention habits, plus some great info on the City's website. Check out the RCMP website with helpful tips as well.
HUB Bike Theft Prevention Committee - Metro Vancouver
HUB Cycling has launched a new Bike Theft Prevention Committee, and the public is invited to volunteer to support upcoming initiatives, such as regional campaigns to help reduce incidences of bike theft. Find out how you can collaborate with other like-minded bike crime fighters, such as police, municipal governments, community groups and other HUB committees. Email us to find out more.
- VPD will dispatch officers to assist in the retrieval of stolen property via Craigslist postings. They have worked with several citizens to successfully get their property back; if you find your property listed on Craigslist, call VPD immediately at 604-717-3321 so they can assist.