Bicycles are most vulnerable to theft in stairwells and corridors[Kristel Kobi | 30.09]
With the return of the warm weather, bicycle season is in full swing. It should be kept in mind, though, that in addition cyclists, bicycle thieves become active, who are trying to find easy income before the season ends. The insurance company provides the newest theft statistics and gives advice on how best to protect your most loyal companion.
"Our insurance statistics show that, contrary to popular belief, bicycles are not most vulnerable in front of stores or in public bicycle car parks but are mostly stolen directly from the corridor right behind your door," says Line Manager of Seesam Property Insurance Kristel Kobi. "With this kind of theft, it is evident that people consider their fellow apartment residents as well as the front door reliable and so bicycles are conveniently stored in corridors, either locked or unlocked. However, it is quite easy to enter the stairwells of large apartment buildings, as neighbours don't know each other by appearance."
These statistics are confirmed by the information received by the police regarding bicycle theft, according to which most bicycles are stolen from stairwells and corridors. The theft of bicycles left on the street, in bike parks or in open gardens are the next in line. Only then can you find basements, outbuildings and garages on the list. Bicycle theft from streets and outbuildings dominates mostly in smaller settlements.
"Leaving your bicycle in the stairwell, especially in a place where it is visible through the window to the street, is a guaranteed way of inviting thieves over," the insurer warns. She clarifies the most secure principles to proceed from upon protecting your bicycle from theft.
Prefer a crowded street to a quite garden
People passing by and the threat of being caught on security camera make thieves anxious. The best option is to leave your bicycle in a special bike park, where it isn't even necessary to have your own lock. These bike parks are often guarded by security cameras and there are more people passing by, thus thieves are more fearful to act. If there is no bicycle park nearby, choose a post or another suitable place, preferably a place with more foot traffic and a nearby lamppost.
A high-quality bicycle lock must be correctly placed
If there are no bicycle racks or parking lots nearby, Kobi says it is a good option to fix your bicycle to a street lamp or traffic sign. Upon fixing your bike, make sure the post is fixed well in the ground or a concrete base, otherwise it is very simple to unfix the bicycle from the post. It is a common mistake to fix the lock around the wheel and forget to fix the frame. In this case, a thief will disassemble the wheel from the other parts, take the bicycle with them and leave the wheel there. The perfect place for fixing the bicycle is from the middle part, below the saddle. This way, the lock is most difficult to access.
Lock the bicycle in home storage, too
Clearly it is not tempting to carry a muddy bicycle to an apartment on the fifth floor, but this is no reason to leave it unprotected in a stairwell. Fire protection rules and the constant danger that one of the neighbours accidentally forgets to lock the front door are other factors that limit the storage of bicycles in apartment building stairwells. If storing your bicycle in a basement, garage or elsewhere at home, you should always lock it. To make the job as difficult as possible for thieves, you can prepare a strong anchor to which it is possible to attach your bicycle.
"At Seesam, bicycles are subject to indemnification under home insurance and, if you have a very expensive bicycle, you should inform the insurance company and add expanded cover, if necessary. Even if the police finds out who committed the crime, they might not be able to get the bicycle back. The average damage amounts to around 600 euros, but recently we registered a theft case where a sport bicycle worth 8000 euros was stolen from the owner's home," Kobi gives an example of the theft of an expensive bicycle.