In Winnipeg, one bike lock is not enough. A rash of bike thefts has police advising cyclists to double up and use two locks.

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This article was published 22/8/2016 (1766 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In Winnipeg, one bike lock is not enough. A rash of bike thefts has police advising cyclists to double up and use two locks.

Police said bike thefts have soared this year. There were 478 reported bike thefts between May 1- Aug. 10 this year, compared to 268 in that span last year.

Police are telling people who ride bikes to "lock it or lose it," a catch phrase for bicycle theft awareness and prevention that police addressed on Monday during a press conference at the Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) on Portage Avenue.

Cst. Rob Carver said parking bikes in a bike parking facility and using two locks - a steel U-lock and a cable lock - will reduce the risk of theft.

"Lock it well. Not just a good lock but two good locks. We're finding that the way modern bikes are designed, the wheels can be removed fairly easily and really, two locks are required," Carver said.

Ken Berg, MEC manager, said having both a U-lock and a cable lock can be visual as well as physical deterrents to bike thieves.

"If someone sees a bike with two locks and the one beside it has just one, they are more likely to try to steal the one with a single lock," Berg said. "Cutting a cable lock doesn't take a whole lot of technical knowledge. Usually with a U-lock, a little bit more knowledge and some tools are required and it's a longer process. Using two in combination, it just makes it that much more secure."

Berg said the U-lock should be used to lock the back wheel, which is the more expensive of the two wheels on a bike, to the frame. The cable lock can then be used to loop in and around the wheels and the frame.

Carver said members of the public should call police if they see a bike theft in progress.

"There are people out there actively trying to steal bikes and to do it, a lot of times they're trying to defeat the locks," Carver said. "There's an obvious presence when someone is doing that. We don't recommend you intervene; we do recommend you call 911."

Carver advised bike owners to to record the serial number of their bikes as checking serial numbers is an effective way of tracking a stolen bike.

People can also register their bike serial numbers with the City of Winnipeg community services department or with most bike shops.

Cst. Rejeanne Caron, the downtown safety coordinator for District 11, said taking a photo of the bike can also help to identify it if it is stolen.

"When you do purchase your bicycle, record the serial number, the make, the model and now with cell phones, take a picture of it. That makes it easier to recover," she said.

Carver said a lot of bikes that are being stolen are in the downtown area because more people are using bikes for transportation and there are more people downtown.

"We don't have any particular area in the city that are hot spots, so to speak. A fair amount of bikes get stolen downtown and I think that it has to do with the fact that there are a lot more open bikes (not inside a building)," Carver said.

 

The officers encouraged members of the public to report a stolen bike a soon as possible and look for it on Internet sites.

"I think a lot of people, not only in the theft of bikes, but in a lot of crimes end up saying, 'what's the point in reporting it?' The only way we are going to be able to recover that bike is if you report it stolen," Carver said.

He said people should also post photos of their stolen bikes on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and search social media or internet sites for bikes for sale.

"Keep an eye out for your bike and if it is being listed, by all means contact Winnipeg Police. We've had a fair amount of success with that in getting them back," Carver said.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca