Here are a list of ways you can reduce your chances of getting your bike stolen and increase your chances of recovering a stolen bike:
1. Record the Serial Number
When you buy your bike, record the purchase and serial number and retain for your records somewhere it can be easily located. I take photos of the receipts with my mobile phone and favourite them.
2. Take photos
Take lots of photos of your bike including photos of the serial number (normally stamped on the bottom of the bottom bracket and maybe elsewhere) and take photos of you with your bike.
3. Register your bike
Register your bike with the VicPD and Project 529 as well. The stickers will act as a deterrent and most importantly the police can easily find you if it’s recovered.
Over 25% of stolen bikes are recovered, so registration means it comes back to you!
4. Lock your bike securely
Always lock your bike securely. Here is a great guide.
Use a solid lock (i.e. U-Lock, solid chain, folding lock). Do not use a cable lock unless it supplements a solid lock. Lock it to a solid object (bike rack etc.) and if possible, lock it in a visible place. Cable locks are no deterrent to bike thieves and can be cut in a few seconds with a $20 tool.
5. If stolen, report it
If your bike is ever stolen, report it to the police. It will allow the police to look for it. They will enter it into police databases of stolen property for BC and possibly nationally. Over 25% of stolen bikes are recovered. A police report is required for insurance claims. It makes sure the extent of thefts is properly reported.
6. Join the Stolen Bike Avengers
Many people use the Facebook group The Stolen Bike Avengers to help look for their bike. It can be very helpful. If your bike is located, call the police to recover it. The police strongly advise people to not try to recover on their own due to risk of injury etc.
Good luck and safer cycling.