toronto bike theft

By the numbers: Bike theft in Toronto

Bike theft in Toronto, is, unfortunately, one of many inherent risks associated with pedal-powered mobility: you might get squeezed to the curb by an aggressive driver, you might get a flat running over broken glass, but having your bicycle stolen (or partially swiped) really stings. As I found out three times in the last two years, sometimes even a solid lock and sturdy ring-and-post is no match for the dedicated crook.

These statistics are from 2011 - the most recent year the Toronto Police is able to offer a complete set of numbers. The cops caution that some of these results are based on their best estimates as it isn't their practice to keep official bicycle records beyond the number stolen each year.

3139 - Bikes reported stolen in 2011
8.6 - Bikes reported stolen each day (average)
864 - Bikes recovered by police in 2011
2275 - Bikes lost forever
27.5 - Percentage of bikes recovered*
170 - Bikes reclaimed by the owner
694 - Recovered bikes unclaimed and auctioned
22 - Percentage of stolen bikes auctioned
1 - Second to cut a cable lock with wire cutters

For some solid advice on how to completely secure your bike (or at least make it not worth a thief's time) check out this useful video by Hal Ruzal, New York City's dreadlocked bicycle guru. Registering your bike's serial number with police is also well worth your time. And please, don't rely on a cable lock to defend your steed against Toronto's crooks.

* Assuming the bikes recovered in 2011 were stolen in the same year.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: "Bike Warning" by jer1961/blogTO Flickr pool.


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