*copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 - P.L. Chadwick, Webmaster
For the people, by the people, and about the people of Lake Helen, Florida
Prevent Bicycle Theft
By Victoria (Teddi) Holmes
Recently, I have twice been the victim of bike theft. The first time, my beloved Kahaluna Maka Maka bike was stolen from my front porch. Yes, I had a lock for it, and had been locking it up, but hadn't put it on that day. (The lock was on the refrigerator to keep “Hoover”, my son, out, but that's a whole 'nother story!). I reported it to the police. The second time, they got my son's bike. He had left it in the front yard. He did not know it was stolen until someone recognized it in a yard where it did not belong and brought it to him. He talked to the youngsters who had the bike (and who had trashed the tires and brakes). Some days later, after fixing his bike and taking it for a test run, he encountered the same youngsters trying to make off with a bike from our neighbor's yard. He immediately contacted the police.
I spoke with Officer Mullins about bike theft. He stated that so far this year there have been ten bikes reported stolen. How many unreported thefts have occurred is anybody's guess. The department just recovered one bike that hasn't been reported stolen. The police can't catch a thief if the theft isn't reported. It is mostly juveniles stealing the bikes, and the majority of bikes are stolen from the home, where they have been left out, unlocked.
So what can you do to prevent your bike being stolen? Officer Mullins shared these tips:
1.) ALWAYS lock your bike up. If there is nothing to chain it to, still lock it through the back tire to the frame. That way a thief will have a harder time wheeling it off.
2.) If your bike is stolen, REPORT it immediately.
3.) REGISTER your bike. You can go by the police station and get a form from Lynn. Once you have filled out the form, she will issue you a non-removable sticker to place on your bike.
4.) Note the serial number, take a picture and keep those in a safe place.
I got the registration form from Lynn, and came home to complete it. It isn't that difficult; the hardest part was turning the bike over to find the serial number. (Which is usually under the crank that turns the pedals.) Curious as to what happens to found bikes that aren't claimed, I asked Officer Mullins what is done with them. He stated that they are either donated to a charity, or, when they have several, advertised and auctioned off.