The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is warning residents to take extra precautions to secure their bikes from thefts.
A key priority for the Service is to raise awareness about bike thefts and how to prevent them. We are already seeing the number of stolen bikes on the rise in 2021. So far, we have received 30 more reported bike thefts than at this time last year (nearly a 70% increase).
Here are the highlights of the data:
- Every year about 1,000 bicycles are stolen city-wide;
- In the past five years over 5,000 bikes have been stolen, worth an estimated value of $3.3M;
- The most expensive bike reported stolen last year was a Santa Cruz High Tower mountain bike, valued at roughly $8,000.
- With the introduction of 529 Garage, the percentage of bicycles recovered is rising – to 6% percent last year;
- As expected, the summer months (June to August) have the highest volume of bike thefts;
- The neighbourhoods with the highest reporting are Centretown and Sandy Hill;
- The average reported value of stolen bikes is approximately $700; and,
- The top three brands reported stolen are: Giant, Trek and Norco.
You can find the full data set here through Open Ottawa (https://open.ottawa.ca/). The data includes a number of key variables including: date, time of day, day of week, make, model, colour, reported value, and speed.
Bike Theft Prevention
Take steps to enhance the security of your bikes:
- Use a sturdy bicycle lock (such as a U-Lock);
- Store your bike in a locked shed or garage;
- Pre-register your bike on 529 Garage to let thieves and potential future buyers know the bike is registered and help police quickly locate and return your bike if it’s stolen.
- Report on Stolen Bikes Ottawa
Along with its partners, Bike Ottawa and Safer Roads Ottawa, the OPS is encouraging cyclists to register their bikes on 529 Garage. This program is easy to sign up to through the app or online. It can help police locate a stolen bike sooner. The app was launched in May 2019 in Ottawa and to date, 6,263 residents have registered and 106 bikes have been recovered and returned to their rightful owners.
Simple things like investing in a durable lock, or putting your bike away in a locked shed or garage, will go a long way to keeping it safe from thefts.
Residents living in high rise apartments and condominiums should store their bike in designated secured enclosures, and all riders should choose bikes racks that offer high visibility and foot traffic or surveillance.
For more information about 529 Garage and a full list of city bike shops offering the 529 Garage shield and registration help, please visit ottawapolice.ca/endbiketheft.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you can still register your bike and be enrolled in the program, but we ask that you collect your sticker at a later date if you want to get your shield from one of our police stations. While the sticker offers a secondary serial number to verify ownership of the bike and acts as a visual deterrent, it is not necessary to complete the registration.
As the weather starts getting warmer, more residents in Ottawa will take advantage and get out of the house and go for a bike ride. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but we are asking riders to still be mindful of physical distancing public health guidelines, along with any requirements to wear masks.
Protect your bike and yourself and enjoy your ride.