I am lucky enough to have, so far, never suffered the horror of returning to get my bike from somewhere, only to find it has gone, half-inched, nicked, stolen. I live in constant fear of it happening though.
I read this article today on the Guardian’s Bike blog. About how there is a new Police taskforce being set up in London to tackle cycle theft. The idea is to try and find the nicked bikes as they are being sold on via websites and various other channels. I think this is a good idea – not sure how effective it will be.
Here’s my idea, and errr this is a brainstorm so all ideas are valid. Police work with a large group of volunteers who between them own a range of bikes of different costs, conditions and styles. This are geotagged with powerful transmitters (possibly powered by the bike itself?) which push out the bike’s location as it moves (I only say as it moves, as I’m not sure the battery would last long on a transmitter if it put out location while stationary). Or it may switch on and send only once every ten minutes or half an hour. The bike owner then just goes about their normal business. It’s not really a honeypot operation as the bike is not looking to be deliberately nicked. The advantage of using actual bike owners bicycles, is that pro-thieves will have learned the patterns of the owners habits. If the bike is stolen, Police then take over and track the bike to its location for surveillance and recovery – hopefully with the result that they nab a district fence in the process.
In the meantime, not even a really good lock may be enough to deter thieves. Maybe the answer is to have a crappy runaround bike for when you need to leave it locked up somewhere, and save your lovely machine for those rides where your cheeks never leave the saddle save on a long and lung-bursting climb.