Put the brakes on bike larcenies

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    Tim Kelley

    From the Arlington County Police Department:

    In 2010, 390 bikes using cables or chains as locks were stolen. The cables can quickly be cut with a rechargeable cutting tool and the padlocks are easily broken.

    To prevent your bike from being stolen:

    1) USE A U-LOCK. Properly secured this offers the best protection
    against theft. Secure the frame of your bike to a solid object, preferably one weighing more than the bike. And if you have a releasable wheel, it too should be secured with the frame.

    2) ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIKE. No matter what its value.

    3) REGISTER YOUR BIKE with the Police Department.

    Bike registration is easy and free and you can do it online at
    http://www.arlingtonva.us. Go to Online Services and click on Register
    your Bike. You must use the serial number engraved on your bicycle, not from a receipt. You will receive an ACPD decal in the mail within
    7 days to place on your bicycle which, when visible, is a definite deterrent to theft.


    Stolen Bikes: File a report on line immediately. Go to http://www.arlingtonva.us/police and click on Report a Crime. Include brand, model, color and serial number.


    Abandoned Bikes: Call 703-228-4057. Report it immediately. Leave your phone number and a description and location of the bicycle.

    Heather Hurlock, Lt. APO
    Crime Prevention Specialist
    Special Operations Section


    How do people lock up their non-foldable trikes? With a U-lock in the back, and a cable for the front two wheels?


    @WillStewart 2684 wrote:

    How do people lock up their non-foldable trikes? With a U-lock in the back, and a cable for the front two wheels?

    That’s how I do it.


    how do you all secure your bikes with a u-lock? i have a mini u-lock and i’ve been using this strategy for a while:

    A U-lock should go around the rear rim and tire, somewhere inside the rear triangle of the frame. There is no need to loop it around the seat tube as well, because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle.


    i still feel kind of nervous about not securing the frame, so i prefer to get both the seat post and the rear wheel, but this only works on one of my two bikes when using my mini u. what do you all do?

    Tim Kelley


    Arlnow has some good information as well:

    Be prepared:

    -Register your bicycle with the Arlington County Police Department. You will receive a decal that may be a visible deterrent to theft. Your bicycle information will also be on file in case it is stolen.

    -Keep a photograph of the bike and a record of your bicycle’s serial number and distinguishing features.

    -Make a note of the brand and the style.

    -Note the identification number (located underneath the bike, between the cranks).

    -Most importantly, take a moment to consider what makes your bike unusual. What will make it stand out from the crowd? -Photograph any distinguishing characteristics (unusual seat or pedals, scratches, racks, bags – the things that make your bike yours).

    -If it is generic, personalize it.

    The most effective counter strategy for a cyclist is to use two types of locks; a U-lock combined with a cable or chain. As with most cycling skills, technique is everything.

    -Open the front quick-release, remove the wheel and place it next to the rear wheel. Rest the fork on the ground.

    -Put the U-lock around a fixed object (guard rail, bike rack, etc.), the rims of both wheels, and some part of the bike frame (either the seat tube, chainstay, or seatstay.) Make sure the lock goes around the rims and not just the spokes, or a thief with wire cutters can walk away with your nice set of wheels.

    -Thread the cable lock through the frame, the front wheel (if it is bolted on), and around a fixed object. Because different tools are needed to break each lock, you will have a backup if one lock is defeated.

    -Do not forget the saddle. If your seat-post has a quick-release, pull the whole thing out and run the cable through the saddle rails.

    If you observe someone with a backpack, spending time around the bike racks at the Metro or in your condo garage or taking too long to unlock a bike, it may be suspicious. Call the Arlington County Police Department Non-emergency Line at 703-558-2222.

    The Arlington County Police Department also has an Abandoned Bicycle Hotline. If a bicycle remains in place (unlocked) at a parking meter, lamp pole, or bike rack for longer than five days please call 703-228-4057. Leave a description, location and a contact number because the bicycle may have been stolen and left behind.

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