Bicycle theft is a growing concern in many communities, and Penticton is not immune.
Local social media pages are often flooded with reports of lost or stolen bikes.
So what can you do to protect your bike and what should you do if your bike is stolen? There are many precautions you can take, according to Penticton RCMP Const. James Grandy. Police are also looking into some new initiatives to combat the problem.
The first thing police recommend Penticton residents do to protect their bikes is register them with the global, online bike registry Project 529.
Project 529 was made available to Penticton residents in 2017 and has since seen thousands of bikes registered. The program started in Washington State through a realization that there was a need to maintain a registry of bicycles in order to help mitigate the selling of stolen bikes.
“Bike theft is not inevitable,” said community policing coordinator, Mark Provencal. “Registering your bike with Project 529 can help reduce the chance of your bike being stolen, and, in the unfortunate event that it is, increase the chance that your bike is recovered and successfully returned.”
Once your bike is registered, purchasing a high-quality lock is the next line of defense. “There’s people roaming around and they’re not afraid to cut off locks,” said Const. Grandy. “Make it as difficult (to steal) as you can, whether you use a really expensive lock or maybe two locks just to make it so they can’t do it as quickly.
“If it takes them a little more effort they’re probably less likely to choose your bike over somebody else’s. They want quick and they want easy.”
When buying a lock, cyclists should look for something made of “real, hard metal” to outsmart thieves as they often use bolt cutters to cut locks, explained Const. Grandy.
In addition to high-quality locks, Const. Grandy also recommends removing the seat or wheel of your bike to further slow down potential thieves.
In the event your bike is stolen, there is a much higher chance of it being recovered if you have recorded the serial number.
If you own a bike and haven’t recorded the serial number, police advise you to simply take a photo of it or write the number down and store it in a safe place.
The majority of serial numbers are located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet. Turn your bike upside down and record the number. If there is no serial number near the cranks, you should check other common places including the front headset or rear stays.
Having the serial number is imperative to police investigations, explained Const. Grandy.
“We run a lot of serial numbers but 99 per cent of the time they don’t come back as stolen, they may still have been stolen but we don’t have the serial number recorded so we can’t seize it.”
Police also recommend putting a unique engraving or marking somewhere on the bike that wouldn’t be disguised by a quick paint job.
If your bike has been stolen police ask that you either call the Penticton RCMP detachment or report the crime through the RCMP’s online crime reporting website.
Penticton RCMP may also soon introduce a “bait bike” system, similar to the one that already exists in Kelowna.