Friday, July 9, 2010
Bike Theft Hot Spots
The Citizen just ran an article, with this map, on bike thefts in Ottawa. Not sure, though, how useful the map is, since it just tells you how many bikes were stolen in an area, and doesn't really take into account bike (or population) density. But the article has some specific streets named that seem to be more risky than others, which is cool: at least it gives you an idea where you might want to be packing an extra lock.
It seems only natural to me that these hot zones are also high bike-density zones. Downtown, and Carleton University. Downtown being home to all those spandex-tribe commuters in the downtown offices, whose bikes are expensive, as well as to the University of Ottawa; and Carleton University being, well, a university. In residential areas? Well, people bring their bikes inside or lock them up in sheds. My area looks pretty clean on this map... but then, there are no bike racks outside my building. I have to bring the bike into my apartment. Where I work, in Vanier? I bring the bike into the office. Where do I leave him out in the open? Downtown: outside restaurants, pubs, clubs, stores, banks, the library, at the university.
Also, it seems to me that bikes are more likely to be reported stolen if they're expensive. And there are more high-end bikes parked downtown (the spandex folks again.) In the article, the two victims interviewed both had expensive or unique bikes. It makes me quite happy that there's nothing remarkable about Mike at all: he's just a banged-up, hard-working little clunker with virtually no resale value. I am, though, increasingly uncomfortable locking him up with a cable lock. Must go find me a chain or U-lock again.
And from the comments on the article I am led to this (Ottawa-based) website: They Stole My Bike. A place to report and try to track stolen bikes, or check to see if the used bike you want to buy might have been stolen.