During the summer months, bike thefts in North Vancouver trend upwards. And that makes sense. When the weather is warm, more people are riding so there are more opportunities for thieves to commit crimes of opportunity. Now that the weather is getting cold and fewer people are out, thefts are trending down, right?
Well, sort of...
Overall, yes, we see a drop in the number of bike thefts during winter months, said Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. But when our crime analysts break down the statistics, we see that within that overall drop, we actually see a rise in bike thefts from underground storage lockers and parkades. That makes sense too, said DeVries.
During summer, thieves will cruise parking lots and neighbourhoods in search of unsecured bikes. But as the weather changes, they shift their focus to the places people store their bikes during winter. Those include underground parkades, storage lockers and garages.
It’s not completely unreasonable to think your bike is safe when you lock it in your parkade storage locker, said DeVries. It should be safe. But the reality is, it’s not. Locks are certainly a deterrent, he said, and they slow thieves down, but they aren’t foolproof. A motivated, experienced thief will be able to get into the parkade, break the door lock, and defeat your bike lock.
DeVries admits it’s a tough problem to solve. He empathises with those who face what seems to be the only alternative: storing their bikes in their units. I’ve lived in an apartment building. I know what it’s like when the building manager gives you heck for bringing your bike in the elevator. I also know what it’s like to get up in the dark and wreck your shin on a bike that’s been stored in the hallway.
The best strategy for not losing your bike requires partnership and teamwork, said DeVries. Individual bike owners need to use a good locking system, building managers should make sure storage facilities have strong and functioning locks on storage doors, and everyone in the building should make sure to follow proper garage entry protocols such as waiting for the gate to close before driving away.
North Vancouver RCMP's Crime Reduction Team also suggests bike owners check their storage lockers periodically, and to register for 529 Garage.