PSA: Bike Thefts in Boston on the Rise

Bike commuters take heed: Bicycle thefts are on the rise in Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods. CBS news reports that several areas have seen a spike in stolen bikes in the year to date. Cambridge thefts are up 13 percent, Somerville thefts are up 33 percent, and Brookline has seen a 40 percent rise in stolen bikes this year. Police cite rising costs for scrap metal and increased gang activity as potential causes of the spike, and suggest adding your bike to the National Bike Registry.

Pete Stidman, of the Boston Cyclists Union, offers a few more suggestions for avoiding bike theft:

  • Make your bike ugly: Shiny new bikes attract thieves because they know they’ll likely get a higher resale price. Stidman suggests using tape or other materials to cover over some of the labels on your bike and to give it a more well-loved look.
  • Fix your quick release wheels: Many racing or mountain bikes have wheels that are easily detached. Installing locking hubs on your wheels will ensure that a thief can’t walk away with your parts.
  • Watch where you lock up (bike edition): If you only put a lock under your handlebars or just below the seat, a thief can easily detach the seat or handlebars and take off the the rest of the frame.
  • Watch where you lock up (post edition): Many bike racks are in low-trafficked areas where few people wander by. Make sure to lock your bike up in a highly visible place, and be sure that the location you’re locking your bike to is secure and can’t be moved or pulled up from the ground.
  • U-locks: They’re stronger and harder to break than chains or cable locks. When in doubt, use more than one.