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Bike theft numbers heat up in Winnipeg over summer

Winnipeg police spokesperson Cst. Jay Murray gives tips on how to keep your bike from being stolen this summer.

Winnipeg police say there are about 2,000 bikes are stolen in the city every year, and the busiest months are in the summer.

In 2018, July saw the highest number of bikes stolen at 359 and in August police received reports of 340 stolen bikes.

Public Information Officer Jay Murray says that’s probably not the full picture.

“We don’t think everyone’s reporting their bike thefts. We often come across posts online where people don’t think it’s worth reporting or they feel like it’s too much of a hassle, but these numbers are very crucial for us,” he said.

“They help us identify hot spots, where are these bikes being stolen from, at what times are they being stolen and help us better deploy our resources.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg bike theft not slowing down

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The police have a more recent initiative where they put a bike out as a bait and wait for someone to try and steal it. Murray says the program has been effective and is in use this summer.

He says people need to be vigilant to protect their bikes.

“A lot of people don’t think they’ll ever be the victim of a bike theft. We see a lot of people who leave their bikes outside of a convenience store and they don’t think they need to lock it. Or they’ll be locked for a longer time with a really inexpensive bike lock,” he said.

READ MORE: Here’s how to prevent your bike from being stolen: Winnipeg bike shop owner

Woodcock Cycle Works owner Tim Woodcock says every week someone comes into the store looking for a new bike after theirs was stolen.

“[We’re] finding a lot of thefts being from people’s own homes, just putting it in the garage, the door gets opened improperly without them knowing or the garage door opener is left in the car,” he said.

Woodcock recommends people buy D-shaped locks.

“[It] is the most secure and they’re only as good as what you lock them to,” he said, adding to be careful of locking them to street signs and unsecured bike racks.

The city says up to 1,000 bikes are recovered each year but less than 10 per cent actually get returned to their rightful owners.

You can register your bike online for $6.70.

So far in 2019 there have been nearly 2,000 bikes registered for the year.

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READ MORE: Report to Winnipeg council recommends no mandatory bike licencing

The city is looking at the option to register your bike when you buy it says Ross Eadie, city councillor for the Mynarski ward.

“It just makes sense to register it when you buy it,” he said, adding when the city looked at the issue some retailers weren’t on board.

Eadie says they’re also looking at what would happen if the registration fees were waived and if the registration app improved. Eadie says he’s expecting the report before the new year.