Monday, August 3, 2015

Bike thefts on the rise this summer

Warmer weather makes getting around on a bike much more pleasant, but it also provides more opportunity for bike thieves to strike.  Over the past few summers, the Somerville Police Department has noticed an uptick of bike thefts during spring and summer.

A graph showing 2014 and 2015 bike theft statistics.
Somerville Police Department data on bike thefts in 2014 and 2015 (to date).
Unfortunately, this year is no different. In 2014 Somerville Police started keeping separate stats on bicycle thefts and that data verified that more thefts happen in the warmer months. Comparing last summer’s number to 2015 shows a steep jump. Comparing the two years to date, the most dramatic increase came in May with 20 reported bike thefts, up from 4 last year.

Some of the characteristics that make bikes a great choice for urban commuting – they’re light and easy to maneuver around busy streets – also make them an appealing target to thieves.  The Somerville Police and Somerville Bicycle Committee have several tips to help you safeguard your bike and make it a less attractive target of theft:

  • Make sure your bike is properly locked up – even at home. Two years ago, Somerville Police found that 34% percent of bike thefts occurred from the front of a residence, with those stolen bikes left unattended for an average of 16 hours.
  •  Pick a strong, sturdy lock for you bike. The Bicycle Committee suggests using a tempered steel U-lock for the most security. Many chain locks can be clipped with bolt cutters. If you have easily removed parts (like a seat or wheels) lock them up too.
  •  Register your bike with the Somerville Police Department and make sure you have a copy of your bike’s serial number and some photos.  If you bike is stolen, these could be helpful in getting it back.
  • Personalize your bike. A noticeable bike is less appealing to a thief and unique features might make it easier to get the bike back to you should it get stolen.

What are your tips for making sure your bike’s waiting for you when you’re ready to ride?


  1. If you use two locks, the theft rate falls even more.
    One locks the front wheel to the bike frame.
    The other the rear wheel to the bike frame.
    One of them also locks the bike to a rack or immovable object.

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