Survey of stolen bikes in Kingston shines light on bicycle theft

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A survey conducted by a former Queen's University graduate-student-turned-bicycle-mechanic is bringing attention to the bike theft issue in Kingston – Nov 13, 2018

A former Queen’s University graduate student-turned-mechanic at Frontenac Cycle in Kingston is tired of hearing complaints of stolen bicycles from customers, so she has taken matters into her own hands.

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Carla Teixeira has worked at Frontenac Cycle for over two years and in August 2018, she took to social media and created a survey asking Kingstonians several questions regarding their history of cycling in the community.

The list of questions included: How many bikes have you had stolen? Have you ever had a part of your bike stolen? And if so, which parts? And the value of the parts taken?

The survey ended in early November after gathering over 250 responses. The data gained left Teixeira crunching the numbers, which led to a surprising result.

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“I added up the numbers such as the monetary value that was stolen from them and it came out to be $150,000,” said Teixeira.

Teixeira told Global News that she hopes this figure will catch the attention of local law enforcement.

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At the Kingston police headquarters, any bike that is found abandoned or seized in relation to an offence is taken and stored at the station. The police have created a program where Kingstonians can go on their website and register their bicycle, and if it is stolen, the police can track it down.

“This is an effective tool that helps us to not only identify stolen bikes but return them to the owner,” said Cameron Mack of the Kingston police.

The owner of Frontenac Cycle, Graeme Healey, says many cyclists do not report stolen parts because they feel it is gone for good.

“I know for a fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of wheels are being stolen,” said Healey.

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According to Healey, the mechanics at his shop have a trick to discourage bike theft, explaining that one of the things they have started doing is epoxying all of the Allen key bolts so a thief can’t get their tool into it and dismantle the bike.

Both Healey and Teixeira say another way to stop bike theft is to have more secure parking areas around Kingston, and when at home, bring your bicycle indoors.

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