Today I went in search of information about bicycle security tips from a professional. I thought I could find this type of advice from a salesperson at a bicycle shop. Lucky for me, there is a local bike shop within walking distance of the law school. Gotham Bikes at 112 West Broadway has been in business since 1967. Simon, the owner, kindly spent time with me to discuss bicycles, bicycle locks, and the basic facts of owning a bicycle in the City.
I found the honest advice and education I was seeking. I began by telling Simon about the number of thefts members of our community have experienced recently. I asked him how a person could make it harder for a thief to steal a bicycle. He told me that the first and foremost fact when deciding to own a bicycle in a city like New York that one must consider is that it is highly likely that at one time or another your bicycle will be stolen. So many opportunities, so bold a thief, and so predictable a population make it easy.
So, the goal is to make it as difficult as possible for the thief to take your valuable transportation. But there are important points to consider:
The Lock- Make it harder to remove
Don’t skimp on the quality of the lock and component locking mechanisms. Buy the best locks and so that you retain the wheels (almost 50% of the value of a bicycle) and the seat. There is a difference in lock quality. Get the cheaper lock for a cheap bicycle (one you decide you could part with), but the best for a more valuable bicycle.
Make it more difficult for the thief
It takes some time to install the best lock and locking accessories. If it takes you a second to lock-up your bicycle, maybe it is not the best security solution. It should take you some time to properly secure your bicycle to a rack.
Move your bicycle around
Simon said typically a thief scopes out a bicycle before she or he steals it. They look at the time a bicycle is placed at the rack and then when it is collected. They watch and learn your bicycle parking patterns. After they have this information and once they feel confident that there is a window for them to act, then they strike. So maybe you should consider his recommendation that you move your bicycle around at some point during the day.
When a thief is likely to steal a bicycle
Simon also mentioned how a thief is more likely to act when there are many people around than when no one is around. It makes sense if you consider how many distractions there are when walking the sidewalks of the City. A single person at a bicycle rack with no one around would attract your attention than a crowd of people milling or walking about.
In closing, many of the points that I noted in earlier posts (especially in the videos by Streetfilms.org, Grade Your Bike Locking video 1 and video 2 (Hal), and video 3 (Hal and Kerri) were also mentioned. You must realize that bicycle theft is a common crime in this City. Simon mentioned that bicycle theft is also very high in his native London, and he projected it will probably increase more bicycles are ridden in a more bicycle friendly City. With this fact, consider the points raised by Simon and others in taking steps to secure your bicycle in the best possible manner.
Bicycle theft remains an underreported crime, advocates and criminal justice experts said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports 188,698 thefts nationwide in 2008, up slightly from previous years. It is certainly an undercount, experts said, because cyclists assume that once the theft occurs there is little chance of getting the bike back, and often do not report thefts.
In New York City, where the police do keep a record of bicycle thefts, riders have seen about a 35 percent increase in the number of reported thefts in 2010 over the same period last year (2009), according to statistics provided by the police. But the number of reports was small, 519 through May 16 (2010), in a city where tens of thousands ride each day.
Source- The New York Times article (2010)