Red Deer RCMP are warning bicycle owners to be vigilant after a recent rash of thefts.
While bike thefts, not surprisingly, spike in spring and summer, thieves appear to be unusually busy, with nearly a dozen bicycles reported stolen in the past week.
“We’re seeing a lot more bikes on the streets and trails this year because of COVID-19,” said Const. Derek Turner.
“It’s a great way to stay active and a physically distant activity that can be done with friends and family, but more bikes on the street also means more potential targets for thieves.”
RCMP are using bait bikes – which are decoys – to catch culprits.
“Bait bikes are one tool we can use to deter theft and also catch thieves in the act,” said Cpl. Dwayne Hanusich.
“Just like with bait cars, we park our bait bikes in visible areas and conduct surveillance on the bike to see if it will be stolen. If it is, we move in and arrest the thief.”
The tactic paid off last week, when police laid charges against a 31-year-old man who tried to make off with a bait bike.
RCMP recommend bicycle owners take steps to avoid becoming a victim of theft, including:
• Keeping it in a locked shed or garage when not using it.
• Securing it with one or more heavy-duty locks that are difficult to cut.
• Removing all accessories, such as any fitness tracking electronics, lights and bells, when not in use.
• Avoid parking it in the same place every day.
Started by a former Microsoft leader, 529 Garage is a free, smartphone app/online bike registry intended to unite cyclists, bike-shop owners and police in an effort to tackle the two million bike thefts in North America every year.
It only takes a few minutes to register your bike and get a tamper-resistant decal that lets potential thieves know your bike is registered with 529 Garage.
Registration is free, and if your bike is stolen, you can send out an alert to the 529 Garage community to be on the lookout.