In Vancouver, bike thefts outnumber vehicle thefts, even though there are more cars on the road than bikes.
Since 2008, bike thefts have risen 54 per cent in Vancouver. In 2008, there were 1,179 reported thefts; in 2012, there were 1,821.
Granville Island saw the most thefts during the four-year period by far with 250 reported bike thefts, more than 120 more than the 300-block of West Georgia Street, which had the second-most thefts. Other areas with high levels of reported thefts were City Hall, the YMCA on Burrard Street, Science World and the MEC on Broadway.
All of the areas where the most bikes were stolen were also areas where the most bikes were locked up.
The police have begun setting up sting operations to retrieve stolen bicycles. The program is based on a similar one designed for catching carjackers.
“We get quite a few calls where the owner says, ‘I found my stolen bike for sale on the Internet,'” police constable Brian Montague told the Vancouver Sun . “We’ll pose as potential buyers. We have officers in plainclothes who are able to do that. We’ve been quite successful in retrieving several bikes that way.”
Vancouver has a falling crime rate as a whole, but bike thefts are one of the few crimes that has been on the rise in recent years. The police connect the increasing number to a rise in bike traffic that came with new bike lanes and the value of bikes now on the street. It’s now more common to see bicycles worth $2,000 or more on the roads or locked up unattended. These bike are also more alluring to thieves.
The statistics for stolen bikes are only recorded within the City of Vancouver. They don’t include numbers from outlying suburbs or the University of British Columbia campus.
Police suggest riders lock their bicycles with U-locks as cable locks can be cut easily with bolt-cutters.