D.C.

Bike thefts set to rise as weather warms

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Bike theft is an unfortunate occurrence in Washington. A bike lock was recently snipped at the NoMa Metro Station. At City Bikes, they see it all the time.

Photo: Jesse Millan via Flickr

“I’d say most days that I work someone comes in missing one or both wheels or the seat,” Colin Clark says.

As the weather heats up, many are leaving the car behind in favor of two wheels, but that also means thieves are on the lookout for “bargain” deals, bikes worth $100 of more with cheap locks.

Justin Stone knows what it’s like to be a victim.

“Of course the first thing is shock and disbelief and kind of running through your head of OK, what did I maybe do wrong?” he says.

Just last year Stone says a thief nabbed his bike outside of his office building. The beach cruiser cost no more than $250 and was locked.

“At the end of the day these guys came in and exploited someone who did lock it up and was safe, and there was a little bit of helplessness. I mean, what can you do?” Stone asks.

Over 1,800 bikes were stolen in 2011. In 2012, bike thefts dropped slightly to 1,797 thefts. At City Bikes, they say it’s easy for criminals to snip flexible bike locks or remove seats and wheels.

“What you can’t do is lock just your wheel or just your seat,” says Clark. “If you do that, because these things are so easily removable, your bike won’t stay there.”

They recommend sturdy U-locks, which deter thieves and are tough to remove. Always lock the frame. Experts also say to never leave a bike for more than a few hours and always lock it to a bike rack. Be sure to write down the make, model and serial number for your bike so police have an easier time tracking it down.

If you live in the District, you can register your bike at your local police station. According to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, there are also a few national bike registries you can take advantage of, like
stolenbikeregistry.com and nationalbikeregistry.com.

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