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Stealing another look at a high-theft area

May 12, 2015


Monday I found myself back at the spot of the badly locked-up bicycle that I posted about the weekend before last.

It was a different selection of bikes this time but still, only the bike frames were locked to the rack, or the frame and one wheel. At least every bicycle was secured with a sturdy-looking U-lock, as two printed notices recommended.

Your trashy LED lights are also treasured by thieves

All U-locked but studded with perfect gifts for the light-fingered.

All sturdily U-locked but studded with consolation prizes for the light-fingered.

A friend was with me — not himself homeless and with his own expensive road bike to protect.

We both noted that there was still too much temptation on display. Putting aside various unsecured back wheels, many of the handlebars were adorned with easy-to-steal lights.

LED bicycle lights and cycling computers are designed with quick release mountings for only one reason: so they can be easily pocketed by the owners when bicycles are left unattended.

Not taking your quick-release doo-dads with you when you leave your bike is an invitation, not just to thieves deliberately looking to steal something but also to the larger population of “potential” thieves who might give in to temptation when it presents itself.

And LED bike lights are tempting. They may not seem like much to you but their value on the street is out of proportion to their often minimal cost. They provide important functionality which can normally only be had for money.

Bike lights are meant to make a bike safer but they can also make it look more normal and less exceptional. Not having either a bike helmet or a front bike light can attract the attention of police along with a nice little fine.

White LED bike lights can always be bartered to binners and dumpster divers who need lights to do their thing at night.

Cyclists should always remove and pocket their quick-release items when they leave their bikes locked up, if for no other reason, because removing the little temptations and opportunities for casual theft is an important part of neighbourhood crime prevention and reduction.

So is keeping an eye out for strangers.

Being neighbourly can be quite challenging


This doormat in the same block as the bike racks fails to specify which neighbours.

While my friend and I were standing there discussing the bikes, someone went into one of the buildings served by the bike racks. The fellow eyed us on the way in and I began counting the minutes.

Shortly the fellow sauntered back out and lit into me verbally; basically telling me to stop looking at the bikes, stop taking pictures and move along.

I returned fire at the appropriate intensity but not because I was annoyed — I wasn’t. It’s just that nothing is more suspicious than a stranger you’re yelling at going all lamb on you.

As far as I was concerned, by challenging me, he was doing the right thing. He was looking out for his neighbours. And though he didn’t realize it, he was actually doing me a direct favour. One of the bikes he was trying to protect was mine. Click the images to enlarge them.

One Comment
  1. Slowcrow permalink

    Sure like this post. Good reminders and great logic on your part

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