‘He left his bike and took mine’: Regina sees rise in bicycle thefts
Christine Tshileo used to ride her bike to work every day, but that changed when it was stolen last week, forcing her to find a new mode of transportation.
Last Tuesday, Tshileo left her mountain bike outside her office on Park Street and Dewdney Avenue, like she did every other day. But that day, her lock wouldn’t close. Still, she decided to place it around her bike in the hopes of deterring thieves. It didn’t work.
“[The thief] left his bike and took mine,” said Tshileo, adding the incident happened too fast for her to react in time.
“I felt sad and disappointed because I use my bike to go anywhere I want.”
Tshileo isn’t the only one left to find new wheels. A number of posts are circulating around Facebook, looking for help in locating lost and stolen bikes.
Regina Police Service (RPS) says 637 bikes were reported stolen between January 1 and July 16 of this year, which is up 94 from the 543 reports in the same time frame of 2018.
RPS says property crimes are “crimes of opportunity,” often fueled by addictions and the need “for someone to acquire some cash.”
Once the weather turns warm, the crimes become more prevalent.
READ MORE: Regina bike thefts hit six-year high
“Bike thefts unfortunately happen in Regina, like every other centre, and probably spike in the summer just simply because people are using their bicycles more often,” said Elizabeth Popowich, RPS spokesperson.
Police say it’s important for owners to be proactive when it comes to bike thefts. Cyclists should make note of the serial number when they buy the bike, that way it can be identified if it’s turned into police or located by officers.
“A person who has reported a bike stolen can come to us and get a pass, go to the compound and have a look around,” Popowich said. “If they can provide some means of identifying that bike and proving it belongs to them, then they can obviously reclaim their property.”
The public is encouraged to report all bike thefts to police.
Locking down on bike thefts
Freddy Vandelinden, Dutch Cycle vice president, often deals with bike thefts during the summer, and this year is not different.
“It’s on par with previous years for sure if not slightly up,” said Vandelinden, adding customers often come in to ask for the serial number of their bike so they can report it to police.
While nothing is 100 per cent fool-proof, it is possible to lock down on the number of bike thefts. Vandelinden tells his customers to park their bikes in busy areas and don’t have a routine parking spot.
“Thieves are smart. They see where bikes are, they inventory the notes in their head and they revisit these places,” Vandelinden said.
It’s important to make a bike undesirable to steal. Vandelinden says owners can do this by removing the seat or front wheel, locking the wheels together or using a two-lock system with both a link-style lock and a cable lock.
“What’s great about a link style lock is they can’t be twisted to be broke, you can’t use a bolt cutter. The only way to get through is with an angle grinder,” Vandelinden said.
“When you use two locks, you’re generally slowing down the honest thief. He’s ready to deal with one system or the other.”
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