DES MOINES, Iowa — Police said that bike thefts have reached a three-year high, and the cycling community has taken notice.
“We got a lot of bike thieves in the downtown area, for sure. Just a lot of bold, bold people coming in and I’ve seen a video of a guy just walking in and grabbing their bike out of somebody’s place,” said Ichi Bike owner Daniel Koenig.
The numbers back up Koenig’s assessment. So far there have been 188 bike thefts reported to Des Moines police this year. That is 32 more than this time last year. Police said there are multiple factors to the climb in numbers.
“Biking is much more popular now. There are more people out on bikes. The population density, particularly in the downtown area, has changed a lot. The other thing is the vulnerability of your bike in public. I don’t think all the time people really understand that a cable lock isn’t going to cut it anymore,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek.
On top of that, Koenig said bikes have become more expensive over the years and are much more valuable for thieves.
“The entry-level bike these days is between about $500 and $1,000. The more upscale bikes are anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000,” said Koenig.
As bikes get more advanced, so do the tools you have to keep them safe. Some tools range from heavy duty steel U-locks to big chain locks to foldable steel combination locks.
“Try to lock up a wheel and some other stuff with your bike, not just the frame, and make sure whatever you’re locking to is very secure. Don’t lock it to a post or you can just lift the whole thing off or something silly like that,” said Koenig.
Police also said you can contact them to put your bike on the city’s registry. Police said it makes it easier for them to identify when they investigate a stolen bike case.
“We’re going to check the places where we know that these often come up. We’ll check the pawn shops, we’ll check homeless camps, we’re going to check around college campuses because that’s where these bikes show back up once they’ve been stolen and somebody else is using it to get around,” said Parizek.
Police said often times it’s hard to identify a bike because they quickly get sold for parts.