Posts tagged security

Stollen bike

Get it? Stollen bike

Love your bike? Get a good lock for it! Ask us about which lock would be best for your bike. We also have lots of information on keeping your bike safe and sound.

Happy Valentines Day from VanCycle

PS: please don’t mock the dough art…

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Bike Theft Stats: Vancouver

Constable Anne Longley from the Business Liaison Unit of the VPD has kindly provided us with some interesting statistics regarding bike theft in Vancouver.

VanCycle encourages anyone who is the victim of bike theft to report it!! Don’t shrug your shoulders and say “it’s not worth it”. You can get get your bike back, but you need to document the incident. See our post on How and Why.

A few notes about the following stats:

  1. The patrol districts (D) refer to sectors of Vancouver. The geographic areas are roughly as follows: D1=downtown, D2=east of Main & north of Broadway, D3=south of Broadway & east of Main, D4=west of Main. For more detailed information about the districts, see the map here.
  2. The figures are actual numbers, not a per capita figure
  3. Nothing magical happened in November 2010 to virtually eliminate bike theft…these stats are current as of Nov. 2nd
Bike thefts Patrol District
Year Month 1 2 3 4 Grand Total
2009 01 7 2 4 16 29
02 13 2 7 30 52
03 17 4 9 13 43
04 49 23 17 40 129
05 66 31 28 63 188
06 62 31 26 50 169
07 119 56 24 89 288
08 129 53 24 104 310
09 65 32 23 65 185
10 34 24 13 39 110
11 23 18 9 38 88
12 14 17 8 22 61
2009 Total 598 293 192 569 1652
2010 01 12 14 6 19 51
02 26 10 10 22 68
03 35 17 9 26 87
04 36 23 19 50 128
05 50 22 16 57 145
06 43 24 13 59 139
07 75 34 20 99 228
08 117 51 34 95 297
09 90 38 13 75 216
10 60 27 17 48 152
11 1 1 2
2010 Total 544 260 158 551 1513

From the VPD: Approximately 1,000 to 1,500 bikes are recovered/year by Vancouver Police, but 700 to 750 of those can never be returned to the owners because we don’t know who the owners are, and those are the bikes that end up in the annual Police Auction. The following is from a News 1130 report Sept 20th: Tattooing your bike.

It is impossible to know how many bikes may be stolen that are never reported, but there is a much better chance of having a stolen bike returned to the owner if it has been reported to the police, and that the serial number is known. We encourage all bike owners to keep a record of not only the make, model and description of their bike, but also the serial number and any other distinguishing features. Most Community Policing Centres offer free engraving as well, so that bike owners can engrave their BCDL on their bike, which may help to deter a potential bike thief.

To report a lost or stolen bike call the non-emergency number (Vancouver) at 604-717-3321.

See our posts regarding security, reporting of theft, and other tips. Let’s see if we can get the stats to reflect the true numbers…the bike theft figures will go up as more people report, but hopefully, the percentage of returned bikes will also increase.

Thank-you to Constable Longley for her efforts!

Check out some update stats from Cst Longley.

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How and why to report a stolen bike

We have noticed in our web stats that many people are arriving at our site via searches regarding stolen bikes. We have written a few posts on various aspects of bike security, but thought we should have one place with a summary of all the information. For further details, please check our more detailed posts.

If your bike is stolen, file a report with the police! This serves multiple purposes.

  1. You may get your bike back! Not all stolen bikes disappear. If you don’t report it stolen, though, you won’t get an incident number. If your bike does resurface, the police have no way of contacting you. Read Jimbo’s story for a real-life example of a bike being reunited with its rightful owner!
  2. Insurance companies usually require an incident number, proving the bike has been stolen.
  3. Statistics: police departments can deploy more resources if they see a spike in theft from a particular area.
  4. Improvements in security:a building or business may improve security if they are aware of theft issues

How to Report

In Vancouver you can either call the non-emergency number at 604.717.3321 and report it over the phone or go online. Make sure you have all your information ready. See our post on required information. You can also go online (Vancouver) to report theft.

You will receive an incident number, which may be required for insurance purposes and for bike recovery. Every years hundreds of stolen bikes are sold at auction by the Vancouver Police Department…these are bikes that could have been returned to the owner if it had been reported.

If you do see someone with your bike, how to proceed is at your discretion. As in the case of Jimbo’s bike, they called the non-emergency police number to request assistance.

The VPD advise people to call 911 if they see their bike being stolen and you can prove it’s your bike (ie having the receipt or serial number). They also advise calling 911 if you see your stolen bike in someone else’s possession. However, they stress that calling 911 is an option ONLY if  you have already reported the theft of your bike and can prove it’s your bike. Again, having your incident number available will help. Otherwise, calling the non-emergency number at 717-3321 is your only option.

Other Jurisdictions

For the most part, the procedure is the same as for Vancouver except you need to call the local non-emergency police. Many areas of  BC have RCMP detachments; others have their own municipal force. Click here to see a list of local detachments and their contact information.

The following Lower Mainland jurisdictions have their own municipal police departments (if we are missing one, please let us know):

Port Moody * New Westminster * Delta * West Vancouver * Abbotsford


Although nothing is 100%  guaranteed to protect your bike, there are a number of basic steps you can take. Please read our post on Locks and Security.

The flip side of being a victim of bike theft is to make sure you don’t inadvertently purchase a stolen bike. See our post for tips on purchasing used bikes.

Read our post on bike theft stats in Vancouver.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to use our comment form.

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Locks and security

Vancouver has a high rate of bike theft so it’s vital to LOCK UP YOUR BIKE! Even if you’re only leaving it “just for a second”. Lock the frame of your bicycle to a bike rack, parking meter, or similar fixed steel structure. Also, lock your bike when parking it at home. Thefts often happen from garages, backyards, and even inside homes.

Check out these articles: Province Newspaper, Georgia Straight

Most bikes come with quick release (QR) wheels and/or seats. The original purpose for the QR wheels was to allow flat tire repair during a ride. The original purpose for QR seat posts was to allow riders to lower their saddle for technical descents off-road. For the average cyclist the QR mechanism is unnecessary; instead, it facilitates the theft of wheels and/or seats.

For this reason, extra care is needed to prevent the theft of these components, along with the security of the bike as a whole.

Quick release mechanisms can be replaced with bolts (both wheels and seat post for $10) or with locking fasteners ($30-$100). Locking fasteners are the preferred option as a key is required for removal whereas bolts would still allow for potential theft (a wrench could remove these).

As a guideline,  your lock should cost 10% of the value of your bike.

VanCycle carries a wide variety of locks suitable for all your security needs.

Main Lock (locking up the bike as a whole)

  • smaller is better (lighter, cheaper, stronger)
  • do not use a cable lock (they are easily and quickly cut)
  • use only a solid steel lock (eg. u-lock)

Quick Release Components

  • Good: cable in addition to main lock…loop it through the wheels and connect to main u-lock…it is virtually impossible to secure your seat with this method
  • Better: Allen bolts (more convenient than a cable, but may be less secure)
  • Best: locking fasteners for wheels and seat post (more expensive, but most convenient and secure)

Note on the Bic pen flaw: the problem with locks being opened using a pen has been resolved. The segment of the lock market that was affected by this flaw has reconfigured their design and only older locks would still be susceptible.

For more information, please feel free to contact us.

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Keeping a record of your bike

If you are the unfortunate victim of a bike theft, there are a few tips that can assist in its recovery.

Most importantly, REPORT it to your local police department!

Many people don’t bother doing this and their bikes end up at the annual police bike auction.

When you purchase a bike, make note of the following information:

  1. SERIAL NUMBER (usually on the underside of the bottom of your bike)
  2. Brand name
  3. Model and sub-model names
  4. Value
  5. Type of bike
  6. How many gears?
  7. Colours and secondary colours
  8. Markings and other distinguishing marks (dents, scratches, stickers)
  9. Accessories (bell, light, rack)
  10. Take a photo of your bike

When reporting the theft to police, have the above information handy.

Note to VanCycle customers: these details will be on your receipt (purchases and/or repairs). If you have misplaced your receipt, please contact us.

Bicycle Information Sheet.  Use this form to keep track of you bike’s details. This will help if your bike is stolen and you need to provide the information to the police.

Take note of the police incident number. This may be required for insurance purposes.

If your bike is recovered by police, they will be able to return your bike.

If you see your bike in someone else’s possession, it is advisable to contact the non-emergency police and provide them with your incident number to confirm rightful ownership.

You can report a stolen bike (Vancouver) online at the VPD website or call the non-emergency number at 604-717-3321.

Read Jimbo’s story to see how this played out in a recent bike recovery.

Also see How to Avoid Buying a Stolen Bike

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