Bike owners urged to make theft difficult
Police are warning bike owners to take extra care to prevent them being stolen during the summer months.
Lock it when you leave it is the message from West Mercia Police as officers crack down on bike thieves.
During the summer there is often a rise in the number of bike thefts and police want to make sure everything is done to help prevent bike owners from becoming victims.
They say simple crime prevention measures can make a real difference and complement the work the police are doing to stop bike thieves in their tracks.
Events will be held across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford encouraging people to security mark their bike with a UV pen or forensic property marking technology such as SmartWater.
Officers will also be available to offer crime prevention advice to ensure local communities are equipped with the right information to help prevent people becoming victims.
Security marking a bike and registering it with a property marking database means if it is stolen and recovered police can identify who it belongs to.
It also helps catch the thief as a product like SmartWater transfers to skin and while it is invisible to the naked eye it is detectable under a UV torch.
Inspector Lee Page, who is leading on the campaign, said: "We do tend to see a seasonal rise in bike thefts during the summer months as more and more people are out and about on their bike.
“This type of crime can have a significant impact on a bike owner and we want to make sure everything is being done to help prevent them from becoming a victim.
"Taking some really simple crime prevention steps can make a huge difference and we just want people to take a few moments to consider what measures they have in place.
“For example, is where they are storing the bike secured? Do they have a good quality lock or, ideally, are they using two different locks to make it even more difficult for thieves?
"Anything that makes the bike more difficult for someone to steal will deter a thief."
The campaign will see local safer neighbourhood teams work closely with We Don't Buy Crime with a range of covert tactics used to catch bike thieves.
Police will be monitoring areas where bikes are stored with some bikes marked with SmartWater forensic technology.
Chief Superintendent Tom Harding is the policing lead for Herefordshire and Worcestershire and leads on We Don't Buy Crime for West Mercia Police.
He said: "We Don't Buy Crime essentially aims to take the value out of acquisitive crime, which includes crimes such as burglary and theft, and we have a range of tactics at our disposal which are both overt and covert to not just prevent acquisitive crime in the first place but catch those who are responsible when they do happen.
"There are often links between acquisitive crime and serious and organised crime and we believe there are links between bike thefts and county lines drug supply and want to send a clear message to those involved that we are utilising a range of methods to target them."
Police advice to help prevent bikes from being stolen includes:
Always lock your bike when you leave it, even if it is only for a few minutes.
It is worth investing in a good quality lock and, for even better security, use two different types of locks, such as a D lock plus a robust chain and padlock.
Always lock it to a secure post or immovable object.
If possible, lock your bike at recognised secure bike parking that is well covered by good lighting and CCTV.
Do not forget security starts at the garden gate.
Do not leave your bike in the garden if you do not have adequate security.
If you are storing your bike in a shed, garage or outbuilding make sure it has a good quality lock and an alarm.
If your bike is kept in a common stairwell, ensure the door is always locked and secure and the door entry system is working.
Make sure you lock the bike too.
Security mark the frame with a UV pen - or forensic technology such as SmartWater.
Use your initials, postcode or another mark that is unique to do.
If you use SmartWater you just need to make a mark with the liquid - UV lights will detect SmartWater and if it has been registered identify the property as belonging to you.
Make a note of the serial number- this is normally located underneath the bike and should be written down or photographed and kept somewhere safe.
Consider insuring your bike, especially if you have a high value bike or there are a number of bikes in the household.