How to Prevent Bike Theft

We all do it from time to time. No, I’m not talking about eating ice cream in the bathtub, or binge watching an entire season in one day (guilty). I’m talking about leaving your bike on campus or downtown, unattended and forgotten for days at a time. During the rainy season, this could lead to a rusted lock if you’re lucky. If you’re not so lucky, you can say goodbye to your bike, and hello to a strict savings account. Davis Police and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department recently discovered seventy bikes that had been stolen from the beginning of last September to the end of last November in pawn shops scattered throughout the Sacramento area. Bike theft has always been a problem in our little cow town- how could it not be as the second most bike friendly place in the world? To outsmart a bike thief, consider the following preventative measures:

Invest in a U-Lock

Ultimately, this is an investment. Cable locks are more affordable than a U-lock because they cannot guarantee the protection that a U-lock can. Cable locks can be cut easily and quickly without much effort, making a thief’s job that much easier. If you must use a cable lock, look for ones that are reinforced with interwoven threads- they are much tougher to cut through.

Where to Park

Sometimes we can only afford to park in the spot that’s left, but if given the choice, try and park your bike in a busy section of town or campus that is easily visible. Parking your bike out somewhere out of sight means that less people will be able to report any suspicious activity.

Lock Your Bike Properly

This video explains the most valuable parts of the bike, and how to secure these parts so that perpetrators will not even bother to attempt theft.

Register your Bike

This is a given considering TAPS (Transportation and Parking Services) requires that all bikes used on campus are registered. If you have neglected buying a bike license, you can buy a new license at TAPS for $10 or renew your license for $5. After a license is bought or renewed, it remains valid for two years until the 31st of December. With your bike registered through the University, it will be easier to track with the proper documentation should it be stolen on campus.

Customize your Bike

By placing stickers on the body of your bike, thieves are less likely to take it because it will not sell as well as a clean bike. If you bike is stolen, but it is decorated with an eclectic mix of stickers, the police will be able to identify it much easier. Another option is carving your name into your bike is also an option (albeit, an extreme one, ). If your bike is stolen and the thief tries to paint over your name, it will still appear as a blemish on the bike, and will not only fail to sell at a higher price point, but also raise attention to the fact that the bike may have been stolen. Even if stickers aren’t your thing, or you don’t feel like taking a sharp object to the frame of your bike (I don’t blame you), putting duct tape on the seat of your bike makes it look used and less attractive in the eyes of a thief.  

Proper Storage

If you do not live on the first floor of your apartment building and have access to a balcony, this is a safe and easy place to store your bike. If you have a house and a garage, this is another safe place to keep your bike. Unfortunately, not everyone has extra space, but if you have an empty wall, a hanging bike rack will not only look awesome, but will provide a secure storage space.

If you had a bike stolen from Sept. 3 - Nov. 23, please file a police report with the Davis Police Department who can be contacted here!