Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

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Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:26 am

This is a short post which will expand over time and contain addition tips and advice for tracking down stolen bikes.


Reporting & Tracking Stolen Bikes

Report the theft to the Police
On the one hand, the chances of getting a bike back are not that good, on the other hand the Police Departments collect so many stolen bikes and most of them can't be traced back to the original owners. It may cost time and you probably wont attract much sympathy however by reporting the theft to the Police you have a better chance of getting the bike returned if it is found (how can they return it if they don't know that it is stolen).

If more bike owners reported the theft then bicycle theft would have an higher priority and importance with the police meaning they invest more resources into solving this problem.


Report the theft to the insurance company if you are covered.
It is always good to know if your bike is covered and in which circumstances. Unless you take special note when getting insurance you may often find that there are special rules and regulations regarding when your bike may be covered and when it is not. Depending on your insurance cover, bikes may need to be insured separately.


Report the theft to local cycling groups
Particularly if the bike can be well recognised, put a message up at local bike clubs and bike meeting points plus get the message out to others who may come across should it reappear in public


Being a detective
Pawn Shops: While a stolen bike should never end up at a Pawn shop - it still happens. While the chances are poor that you will find your stolen bike at your local Pawn Shop - there is no harm checking and while your at it, let the store owner know you are on the look out for your bike. The real effect of this is that Pawn Shop owners become more aware of taking on items that could be stolen.

Ebay and Co.:
While a thief is extremely stupid trying to sell a stolen bike online, let's remember that they are a thief because they are too stupid and lazy earn an honest wage. If you notice that a stolen bike is offered for sale - contact the site administrators and the police.

Classifieds: As with ebay, following the classifieds is a slim chance however you never know. In Australia, Gumtree is popular and is used by thieves to sell stolen bikes and equipment.



Preventing Theft

Locations:
• Avoid locking your bike up in public places when possible. Overnight can be a bad idea. Safest is indoors in your workplace and house.
• Private car parks and back lanes are not necessarily better - although it is les public, thieves have more cover and can come and go without being noticed.


Thieves
This is not certified info however there are generally two types of bicycle thieves:
The Opportunity Thief will find your bike by chance and take the opportunity of stealing it. Perhaps they live in the neighbourhood or are passing through. These thieves may try and sell to a friend or ride the bike themself.
The Organised Criminal has better bike knowledge and will often target more expensive bikes. Sometimes bike events may be targeted or locations which bike riders frequent. These bikes are often transported out of town, sometimes interstate and are resold. Sometimes parts are changed to make distinguished bikes less recognisable.


Locks
• Use more than one lock when possible - a super heavy duty lock (eg Kryptonite) and a lighter lock. The more difficult and time consuming it is for the thief, the better the deterant.
• Take off the front wheels and lock them with the frame and back wheels, particularly if you have quick release skewers.
• Always thread the lock through the frame (How often do I see bikes with just the front wheel locked)
• When possible, try and lock up as tight as possible so there is not much play in the lock - less leverage and more difficult to break.
• If your bike looks like the most difficult bike in the bunch to steal then this encourage the criminal to choose another bike.
• Always lock the bike up to something that can't be easily moved or dismantled. A common error is drain pipes which can often be dismantled per hand or temporary signage where the bike can be lifted up and then removed).

Here is a good online video that provides useful info for locking your bike.


Insurance
• Insurance is a good idea especially if you need to lock up your bike outdoors.
• Bike insurance is often available as an extra option with normal house and contents insurance, often the major cycling bodies in each state also offer good value bicycle insurance.
• There is insurance available just for bicycles. This is a comprehensive review of all cycling related insurance cover.


Bicycle Identification
• Etch a security number into the bike. Often this is done using an engraver and adding a security number underneath the bottom bracket. It is also a tell-tale sign of a stolen bike if the bottom bracket has been 'shaved' to remove the identification code.
• A laminated card with your name and contact details can be rolled up and inserted in the seat tube, bars, seat post or steerer tube so that if it is stolen and you see it on the street or in a pawn shop you can easily identify it.
• Take a note of your bike serial number, unique details and make a photo
• Personalise the bike with features that are unique to your bike (eg stickers and parts).

[outdated - no longer available]
• Datadot DNA Kit used tiny, laser etched, uniquely identified dots with UV reactive glue and required a digital or manual magnifying unit and the 'markings' could be picked up under UV light.
•  mybikeREGO was a database of bikes along with stickers which were hard (but not impossible) to cleanly remove. They partnered with Cycling Australia and some other brands before disappearing.

Anything Else
• If your bicycle is really expensive - seriously consider whether it makes sense to lock it up in public. Is it possible to buy a cheaper commuter bike? I have a city bike just for riding in the city and is not my most expensive bike.
• Scruffing up a bike and coating it with stickers can make a good frame look ordinary however is not a guarantee that it a thief wont recognise it for a good bike.
• Making your bike unique - The more individual your bike it - even just cosmetic changes, the easier it is to notice.


Do you have anything to add, please PM or email me?
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by BNA » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:56 pm

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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby bdstratton » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:56 pm

does anyone here know if i can get insurance if my bike is only worth $800.

I have 2 bikes i need to insure and they are both under $1000 market value

i want to be covered for theft when i lock my bike up on the street etc and theft from home.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby uncle arthur » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:30 am

Depending on who you are with, you can cover your bikes for any theft or damage that occurs (while you are not riding it) under your home and contents insurance.

I know I have my bikes covered with our insurance with RACQ. Check with your own insurer though.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby diggler » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:21 am

http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/

Spylamp is a covert tracking device that is hidden inside a bicycle rear light. The rear light appears and functions as normal to avoid suspicion but inside it houses a complete GPS tracking device. Hold the on/off button down for 3 seconds and your trackers vibration sensor will activate. Any subsequent movement of your bicycle will mean you get an instant SMS message and the tracking function will activate so you can see where your bicycle was taken.

As seen on BBC Click program.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby AndyL » Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:17 am

Just found out the above site has a new product which mounts inside the steerer tube for $130.
includes remote arming via sms (normally armed with key), location from gps with fall back to mobile towers. sms notification on movement
supply own sim card (e.g. $5 per month Lite.r)
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby Just*managing » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:27 pm

Thanks for the very helpful advice although I notice that the Bike Registry Link seems broken.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:46 pm

Thanks for that, I have updated (and reformatted).
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby vexil2 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:37 pm

diggler wrote:Spylamp is a covert tracking device that is hidden inside a bicycle rear light.


They also have SpyBike which instead of being part of the rear light, it's hidden in the steering tube of the bike.

http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/Spybike.jsp

Seems really good and SMSes you a tracking link when the bike detects movement. I purchased one and I'm keenly waiting for it to be delivered from the UK.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby stolenbikes88 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:43 am

Hi, I've tried a integrated tracker here in the UK and to be honest wasn't impressed. It's accuracy isn't the best and if there's anything but clear sky it doesn't work properly, the SMS feature is useful but sometimes doesn't work.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby Waylah » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:18 pm

Hey this gumtree ad looks dodgey:

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/caringba ... 1022143184

Found it because their other item was a laptop (I'm looking for our stolen laptops). The two ads just lack the kind of description normal ads have. Could be a coincidence, but I thought I'd post this here just in case.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby diggler » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:16 am

Shouldn't there be a registration system like the vehicle identification number for cars? Every time somebody sells a second hand bike, they ought to quote the bicycle VIN which can be checked against the database.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby cycleape » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:32 pm

This thread is very interesting because I think that not too many people understand the risk of having their valuable bicycle being stolen but only when it's too late.
I've experience as Locksmith and I know that people became worried only after their goods disappear.

About my bicycle the first change I made was getting rid of the quick release (thieves favorite) skewers so I bought the anti theft one similar to these: View item

Then I bought a $70 chain lock from Abus, I believe that that is the best brand and the one I got is quite enough for when I park my bicycle in the city, though I never leave it after late afternoon.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby queequeg » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:09 pm

Just remember to carry the wrench with you in case you get a flat.

I don't bother with the anti-theft skewers, but I do lock my bike up at work so that the D-Lock goes through the rear wheel and rear triangle, and a thick cable lock loops around the D-Lock and through the front wheel.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby cycleape » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:34 pm

queequeg wrote:Just remember to carry the wrench with you in case you get a flat.

I don't bother with the anti-theft skewers, but I do lock my bike up at work so that the D-Lock goes through the rear wheel and rear triangle, and a thick cable lock loops around the D-Lock and through the front wheel.

I also lock through frame and back wheel though I don't lock the front wheel because I don't want to carry another lock.
But I always park my bicycle in populated spots like shopping centres where also there are CCTVs.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby OldBloke » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:49 pm

You probably need to update the info above since mybikeREGO has closed down.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby queequeg » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:26 pm

cycleape wrote:
queequeg wrote:Just remember to carry the wrench with you in case you get a flat.

I don't bother with the anti-theft skewers, but I do lock my bike up at work so that the D-Lock goes through the rear wheel and rear triangle, and a thick cable lock loops around the D-Lock and through the front wheel.

I also lock through frame and back wheel though I don't lock the front wheel because I don't want to carry another lock.
But I always park my bicycle in populated spots like shopping centres where also there are CCTVs.


I only have one lock as well, but my lock and cable stay attached to the bike rack in the secure cage, since the lock itself weighs about 2kg!
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby cycleape » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:52 pm

queequeg wrote:the lock itself weighs about 2kg!

And I guess you bought a carbon fibre bicycle? :D
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby queequeg » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:35 pm

cycleape wrote:
queequeg wrote:the lock itself weighs about 2kg!

And I guess you bought a carbon fibre bicycle? :D


Nope, it's Ti :-) Still, the lock is heavier than the frame, but that's ok because the lock stays at work in the cage.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby jimh » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:14 pm

I think the initial post might need a bit of an update.

DataDot / Bicycles Register seems to have been resurrected.
http://www.nationalbikeregister.com.au/
http://www.datadotdna.com/au/datadot_buy_for_bicycle.php

The above seem to make more sense than the crowd GPS / bluetooth 4 - beacons which "tethers" your bike to your phone. They all work the same by attaching a bluetooth beacon to your bike which then pings your phone at intervals and basically alerts you when somebody has just ridden off on your bike. If the beacon which is hopefully still attached to your property comes into range with somebody else who has the same solution on their phone and the app is switched on - the system will then send an alert via the 3rd party's phone to a server somewhere which in turn alerts you that your bike/property has been "seen" at such an such location.
Examples are:
Cycle leash: https://www.cycleleash.com.au/
Cricket: http://www.b45h.com/
Tile: https://www.thetileapp.com/how-it-works

There's plenty of others but Cycle Leash is a homegrown solution.

I'm a little bit cynical on how well they will work especially the niche ones (as you'd need to sell alot before the "crowd GPS" would actually be useful and any "decent thief" (that would be the ones who have made a career out it and not been caught) would just remove the bluetooth beacon as they aren't really hidden.

Also the GPS trackers - referred to above seem to be getting a bit redundant as they use GSM which is getting a little dated as far as phone networks go.
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Re: Tracking Stolen Bikes and preventing theft

Postby AUbicycles » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:00 pm

Thanks for the update, from the leads I tested, it appeared that datadot was no more however will confirm.

Good point on the new security solutions - certainly worth consideration and I will review and look at updating shortly.
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