Bike thieves stink and Tucson has its share of them. According to the Tucson Police Department, more than 600 bikes were reported stolen in 2009.
If your bike is stolen, here are some steps you can take to try and recover it.
The best thing you can do is to prevent your bike from getting stolen in the first place. Check out this article for great tips about keeping your bike secure:
- Always lock your bike: even in the garage, the apartment stairwell, or college dorm.
- Lock to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter or permanent bike rack. Be careful not to lock to items that can be easily cut, broken or removed. Be careful that your bike cannot be lifted over the top of the object to which it is locked.
- Lock in a visible and well-lit area.
- Lock in a location where there are other bikes. The chances are better that there will be a bike with a less secure lock than yours. Thieves will usually go for the easiest target.
- When using a U-lock, position your bike frame and wheels so that you fill or take up as much of the open space within the U-portion of the lock as possible. The tighter the lock up, the harder it is for a thief to use tools to attack your lock.
- Always position a U-lock so that the keyway is facing down towards the ground. Don’t position the lock close to the ground. This makes it easier for a thief to attack it.
- Always secure your components and accessories, especially quick-release components, with a secondary cable lock.
- Don’t lock your bike to itself (i.e. put the lock through the wheel and frame only). Lock it to something. Otherwise, it can be easily lifted and carried away.
- Don’t lock in the same location all the time. A thief may notice the pattern and target your bike.
- Don’t lock to anything posted illegal. Check with area law enforcement agencies for local bike parking regulations.
- Always check your lock before leaving your bike to be sure you have secured it properly.
- For the greatest theft deterrence, use two locks such as a U-lock and a locking cable. The longer it takes a thief to get through your bike security, the less likely your bike will be stolen.
- These last two are from me. Never lock your bike at a Marta station. Take it with you on the train.
- Register your bike. Check out The National Bike Registry
If your bike is stolen here in Tucson, here are steps to follow to give yourself a shot at getting it back.
1. Add your bike to www.stolenbicycleregistry.com. It works best if you have your serial number, so be sure to write it down when you get your bike. Some local shops will keep a record of the serial number for you. Check with the shop where you bought your bike to see if they have a record of it.
2. Post a photo and description of your bike on Craigslist in Tucson and Phoenix.
3. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and fill out the stolen bike form.
4. Print flyers about the stolen bike and take them to local bike shops and BICAS.
5. Check local pawn shops to see if your bike shows up there.
6. Watch the Phoenix and Tucson Craigslist postings. Many Tucson bikes are taken to Phoenix where it is easier to sell them without being caught.
7. Head to the Tanque Verde Swap Meet to check for your bike.
Check out this example of how a Tucsonan got his bike back by following many of the same steps.
Do you have any other tips that should be added? Leave a comment below.
If your bike was stolen, please use the form below to submit the required information.
Tucson examples of how NOT to lock your bike