Coordinator’s Update – May 25

Good Day Block Watch Captains, Co-Captains & Participants,

West Vancouver Police have responded to 382 calls for service since our last update.

Bicycle Thefts

Bicycle theft reports surged over the past week, with reports involving locked bikes, unlocked bikes, bikes in retail areas & bikes stolen from residences.

Unfortunately, whether your bike is kept locked to a rack outdoors, in a secure lockup, or your garage, there are no completely fool-proof ways to prevent theft. While bicycle GPS trackers are commercially available to help locate a stolen bike, there are many steps possible to reduce the risk of theft.

Where are you leaving your bike and for how long? The best lock for you can vary depending on your parking plan.

All types of bike locks have strengths & vulnerabilities. U (or D) locks are largely considered most secure. Quality brands are made of hardened steel and require time & tools like an angle grinder to defeat. However, they are typically heavy & can only secure one part of your bike like the frame.

Cable locks offer the flexibility to thread through complex frames and around larger anchor points but care in selecting a lock is recommended as many cables can be quickly cut with bolt cutters.

Chains are also a good option, but a light duty chain & lock can be readily overcome by a hacksaw or bolt cutters. Look for bike-specific locks from reputable brands that use hardened steel for the chain links and shackle and can have a sleeve designed to get tangled in the teeth of a saw, making it more challenging to cut. They are heavy but offer greater security.

Folding Locks have become a popular option because they are lightweight, compact, made from materials that are hard to cut, and allow you to lock your bike to something oddly shaped or with a large circumference, like a tree or signpost. Be mindful that no lock is undefeatable. Better quality locks can prevent a quick, easy theft and prompt a thief to move on to an easier target.

Consider using more than one kind of lock to deter an offender. More than one kind of lock can help to secure not just the bike frame, but individual components of the bike, and leave a thief facing a longer, more difficult task.

Even the most secure lock will be of no use if it’s not used correctly. The top priority is passing the lock through the frame, then the rear wheel and front wheel last. If your bike will be locked in an area known for bike theft, consider a second lock to secure the wheels to the frame and the primary lock to secure the frame (and possibly the rear wheel) to the rack.

Also, think about the object you will lock your bike to. Could a thief lift your bike with the lock attached over the top of that street sign or pole? Or break off that skinny tree? Always consider how difficult it would be for someone to remove your bike with the lock still attached.

Keep records of your bike, including the serial number, purchase receipt, and photographs, especially if you’ve had unique components installed. Register your bike on 529Garage. All that information provided to police can help get your stolen bike back to you if recovered.

If your bike must spend the night or workday outside, taking a moment to evaluate your surroundings could be just the deterrent needed. Bright, well-lit areas with regular foot traffic, coupled with a lock or locks that cannot be readily cut can help reduce the risk of theft.

What are bike thieves looking for?

Sometimes bike thieves are offenders committing other crimes and steal a bike for a ride out of the area. Sometimes bikes are stolen to be sold. Sometimes it’s both. Whatever the motivation, making your bike less attractive to thieves by taking any valuable, removable components with you park it can also reduce your risk.

If you see suspicious activity or persons in your neighbourhood, please don’t hesitate to contact West Vancouver Police. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency. Call 604-925-7300 for a non-emergency response.

Jeff Palmer

Block Watch & Operational Support Coordinator

t: 604-925-7363 | c: 604-785-2446

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