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Help Prevent Bike Theft

Bikes can provide you with a great way to get from A to B. Usually more affordable than a car or motorbike, they’re also very good for the environment and your physical fitness, but with these positives comes interest from potential thieves.

We sat down with Senior Constable Sophie Hodge from Southern District, to hear her advice about bike theft. Sophie works in the Community Engagement Section and has over 20 years experience in policing.

She gave us some good insights into bike theft along with top tips that you should consider for your bike security...

Let’s get straight to it, what are your top tips to help reduce the chance of thieves stealing a bike?

My top three tips are really simple but can make a big difference:

  1. Lock the bike to a secure object with a strong lock, I’d suggest a D-lock.
  2. Do not ever leave the bike unattended and unlocked, even for a very short amount of time.
  3. Secure the bike either in a locked shed or inside the house when at home.

How do thieves typically steal bikes? Are there any commonalities?

Bikes that are left unlocked are a target, no matter how long they’ve been left unattended, it could be only seconds. Unlocked bikes are a really attractive proposition for thieves, there’s no hard work involved, they simply walk up and take it.

We have also had cases where bikes have been locked and the chains have been cut so it’s really important to ensure you have good quality locks, I’d recommend a strong D-lock.

Once thieves have hold of a bike, they may look to sell it to make money. If you are ever buying a second-hand bike, ask for the serial number and check it online through searches and forums.

What time of day do they usually steal bikes?

There’s no common theme with this, bikes are being stolen at all times of the day and at night. The best thing you can do when you’re out and about in the day is to ensure you lock your bike with strong locks and at night, bring your bike indoors with you or in a secured shed.

Do security signs near parked bikes deter thieves?

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be a deterrent for thieves, bikes are being stolen from shopping centres and railway stations that have signs, so you should still remain vigilant and alert to possible bike theft in these locations and remember my top tips – never leave a bike unlocked and use a strong lock. Even areas that have CCTV have had bikes stolen from them, it’s sometimes easier for us to work out who the criminal is in these instances, but you should never be complacent, please still make sure you’re following my top tips regardless of where you are!

Does anything make thieves think twice when they’re considering stealing a bike?

Making your bike appear hard to steal is the best thing you can do. Thieves usually don’t want to spend too much time trying to take a bike, the more time they’re taking, the more risk there is of being spotted by someone, so make it look hard! You can do this by using two strong locks, a D-lock that secures the frame and one of the wheels to a secure object and then also a heavy-duty chain that secures the other wheel to the first lock.

What are bike thieves’ ideal targets?

A bike that looks easy to take is probably what attracts them most, it doesn't really matter what kind of bike it is.

Are there any tips for people that can help them if their bike does get stolen?

Report it as soon as possible! Take a look at how you should report incidents by clicking here.

Engraving, recording serial numbers, bike passports and photographs of the bike are all good ideas to assist with recovery and insurance claims if the bike is stolen. Some people also use GPS tracking devices on their bikes to assist in recovery if their bike is stolen, a range of different devices are available. You can also register, report, and recover stolen bikes on the internet through various forum sites, just have a quick search for them through your chosen online search engine.

Are there any other tips we haven’t spoken about yet?

A unique one that isn’t commonly spoken about are fitness-tracking apps. They can be great for tracking cycling journeys but if privacy settings are open, thieves may look at your regular cycling commutes and frequent lock-up locations. Even if you’ve deleted the app, smart watches can sometimes still connect to your profile and upload your journeys. Check and adjust your privacy settings accordingly.

Although it can be tricky to carry around two locks with you, it is recommended, especially good quality strong locks.

We’ve also heard occasional reports of people going back to their locked bikes, finding a flat tyre and leaving their bike to collect later, only to come back and find the bike gone. If you return to your bike and it has a flat tyre don’t leave it. A thief could have done it to give them some extra time to take your bike.

For more security hints and tips click here: https://www.police.sa.gov.au/nhw/home/safe-living.