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The problem of bike theft (part 1)

Bicycle theft is an under-addressed crime problem in British Columbia. In Vancouver, for example, bike theft is up fifty percent over the past five years:

Vancouver has significantly higher rates of bike theft per capita than other major Canadian cities. One explanation is what VPD spokesman Sergeant Randy Fincham calls an unfortunate “combination of supply and demand,” pointing to the mild coastal weather and bike-friendly government initiatives and infrastructure on one side of the equation, and a property crime problem largely driven by the illicit drug market on the other.

Bikes are also more expensive these days which makes them an attractive target. Prices for a bicycle range from $500 to $5000. Bikes at the high end of that range are more expensive than my own personal vehicle.

On July 16, 2013, this photo was posted to the News 1130 facebook page by Derek Hession. The bike was stolen out of his backyard in Surrey.

On July 16, 2013, Derek Hession posted this photo to the News 1130 facebook page. He reports the bike stolen out of his backyard in Surrey the night before.

There is no indication that the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia has ever turned its collective wisdom toward this problem. I’ve searched Hansard for the phrases like “stolen bike”, “theft of bike”, “bike theft”, “stolen bicycle”, “bicycle crime” etc. There are zero search results for those specific phrases. The BC Ministry of Justice web site is really not that much better in terms of  search results. That said, it should be noted that the Ministry of Justice recently provided a $9150 grant in civil forfeiture funds to create a bicycle theft prevention video:

“HUB will create a short video and promotional campaign on the many ways community members can help prevent theft of their own and others’ bikes. The video will be distributed through cycling networks and broader media networks to get maximum impact and community involvement. The creation of the video is supported by the Vancouver Police Department, the Vancouver Board of Education and the City of Vancouver.”

The video sounds like a good project. But something more substantial needs to be done. In the past decade, there has been a lot of talk (and action) focused on auto crime. Bike crime, not so much.

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