Lock it or lose it: Bike thefts a 'huge problem' in Edmonton
With almost 600 already reported stolen this year, police recommend hefty U-Locks to deter thiefs
Edmonton police are reminding cyclists to properly secure their bicycles, as the number of bikes reported stolen so far this year closes in on 600.
"Bike theft is a huge problem throughout the city," Const. Daniel Tallack, a Whyte Avenue beat officer, said Friday.
"When you consider that most bikes today cost anywhere between $500 and $1,200 on average ... it's very important for cyclists to take the time to ensure their bikes are properly locked up," Tallack said.
In 2017, 2,171 bicycles were stolen, a slight increase from the 2,000 taken in 2016.
As of June 4, 590 bikes had been reported stolen, almost identical to the 580 reported stolen at this time in 2017.
"It's a city-wide problem and a lot of it is just crimes of opportunity," said Tallack. "People run into a store thinking they're just going to be a second, come out, no more bike."
Others may use a poor quality lock, or leave the bicycle in an unlocked shed or garage on their property, he said.
Police recommend a U-shaped lock as a good deterrent.
"They're a little bit unwieldy, we get it, they're heavy," he said. "A little bit of inconvenience as far as carrying it around versus walking home — kind of got to weigh your options."
Cyclists are urged to record the serial number of their bike as soon as they purchase it, since that is the only sure way police can reunite a rightful owner with their bike if it is lost or stolen.
Stolen bikes end up in a lot of different places, he said.
There are "quasi bike chop shops" where pieces from different stolen bikes are used to create new ones. They are also sold to get cash for drugs, said Tallack.
"Lots of times, it's legitimate buyers who are ending up with some of these stolen bikes because they just think they're getting a great deal on Kijiji."