Bike Theft Prevention & Recovery
IndyCog has partnered with Bike Index to help you register, report, and recover your stolen bike. It should be noted that if a bike thief wants your bike and he/she has enough time, they will most likely get it. So, it's your job to make his/her task as difficult as possible. You need to make your bike the hardest bike to steal and chances are the thieves will move on to a more accessible bike.
First, register your bike with Bike Index. This is a national database for bicycles, think BMV for bicycles minus the fees. If you're registered people can look up a bike they are trying to buy and determine that it was stolen from you.
Then, spend some money on a high quality bike lock or at least one whose cost is proportional to how much you like your bike (don't spend <$40 on a U-lock). Research has shown that heavy duty U-locks in combination with a heavy gauge chain, stand-up the best (see image below). Do not lock your bike up with just a cable!
Always lock your bike to fixed objects like bike racks, signs (only after you checked that they can't be pulled from the ground), parking meters, etc. Again, just make sure that these objects are firmly affixed to the ground.
Even if you keep your bikes in your garage, lock them up to something that is secured to the floor, walls or ceiling. Many bikes are stolen from garages and once a thief gets in the garage, all your bikes now become his/hers.
Lock your bike in well-lit and well-travelled areas and if you consistently go to the same destination (think daily commute), don't lock it up in the same location every day.
Lock your wheels because a thief will surely steal them if you don't, especially if you have quick release skewers. You can also take the front wheel with you, and if you can only lock one wheel, make it the rear since they are more expensive to replaceDon't lock your bike like this!
Write your name or initials on the frame with a Sharpie and cover it with several layers of packing tape. A thief can remove the tape and marker but it will take some time and they want a bike they can sell quickly & easily.
Take photographs and save them somewhere safe (i.e. Bike Index):
You and your bike
Of anything special about your bike
The serial number which is located on the bottom bracket shell (the area underneath your bike where your pedals/crank arms meet). If you can't find the serial number of your bike ask your bike shop to help. Often they keep records and can tell you. At the least they can help you look for it (it's not always on the bottom bracket.)
It is important to get a police report filed quickly so if it's found, you can get your back. The more documentation you have, the better your chances of getting to ride your bike again.
Gather your important bike info
Receipt, if purchased new or used at a shop
Photographs, if you have them
File a police report (The number is 317.327.3811 & in Indianapolis you can not file a police report online)
Check current listings because someone might have found your bike and listed it.
- Follow @StolenBikesIndy. All the local bike shops, pawn shops and anyone interested will be following this Twitter feed as well.
Check the @StolenBikesIndy to see if anyone has responded.
Use the stolen bike twitterbot
There are several apps that allow you to store information about your bike (Bike Quiver, etc)
- Fill out the form below and make several copies. Keep one at home (with pics), roll up one and place inside handlebars and finally, slide one in your seatpost. This will help identify your bike if it is ever stolen and you or the police find it.
So I found my bike...Now what?
If it is returned to you, please notify the police and cancel your report. It wouldn't be good if you get pulled over for riding your own bike and don't have the documentation to prove it is yours.
Also go the Bike Index site and change the status from stolen.
- If you see someone riding your bike, be careful if you decide to approach the person, they could become violent and you don't need that. Please use common sense in this scenario and you may want to call the police but be sure you have the documentation to prove that it is your bike.
Dhar, Rahal, (August 28, 2012). What Happens to Stolen Bicycles. Retrieved from http://blog.priceonomics.com/post/30393216796/what-happens-to-stolen-bicycles
Jaffe, E., (September 14, 2012). Why Bike Theft is So Hard to Stop. Retrieved from http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/09/why-bike-theft-so-hard-stop/3274/
Metcalf, John, (October 27, 2014). Your U-lock is Basically Worthless but Don't Worry. Retrieved from http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2014/10/your-u-lock-is-basically-worthless-but-dont-worry/381818/
Symmes, Patrick, (February, 2012), Who Pinched My Ride?, Outside, Retrieved from http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/biking/Who-Pinched-My-Ride.html?page=all
Welch, G., (December, 2013). Unlocked, Bicycling, 42-49 & 66. www.bicycling.com/news/featured-stories/unlocked