Do you have your bike registered? It might be a good place to start. Bicycle theft isn’t an epidemic problem in Ypsilanti but it is a consistent one with a bike being stolen every other week on average from an EMU student. But even if you think your bicycle is long gone, or on its way to the basement of the Alamo, there is still help. The Eastern Michigan University Police are on the case, but they can’t do it alone.
The first step in helping to recover your property is actually preventative. The biggest step you can make is registering your bike. Often times, the police might be able to find your stolen property, but if you have no way to prove it is yours, there is nothing they can do. Registration takes just a couple of minutes and it a very easy way to link the identity of that bike to you. The department of public safety will take down some of you more relevant information, name phone number and perhaps most importantly, some information about the bike. The make, model, year and general description are all entered into their database, along with the single most important piece of information in reuniting lost bikes with owners: the serial number. That serial number is unique to each and every bicycle and can be used to positively identify an owner if and when the machine is recovered. All of the information that is recorded is added to a database and linked to an individual qrc code, a sticker of which is placed onto your bicycle, if a bike is recovered, all it takes is one scan and you could have a phone call keeping you up to date on your ride’s whereabouts within minutes.
The registration process is free and offered by the EMU Police. On occasion, they have registration drive, where almost all of the work is done for you. All you have to do is arrive with the bicycle you would like registered and they will walk you through the entire process. You might even wind up with some nice police swag to boot.
While registration is the best first step you can make in keeping a bike around for the long term, there are many other steps to prevent it from being lost in the first place. Many professionals suggest that there are only two types of locks you should consider. One is a u-lock made by one of the reputable, brand-name bike lock companies. The other is one of the heavy-duty chain and lock combinations made by the same reputable, brand-name lock companies. Simply put, a cable lock or other flimsy device will not deter a bike thief. Don’t waste your money on something that won’t work. All locks will fail eventually, but the idea is to make your bike the hardest to steal; one that no thief wants to waste their time on.
Once you have a serious bike lock, you will need to use proper locking technique—no lock can prevent theft if it’s used improperly. As an example, many cyclists who have used a good-quality u-lock to lock their bike to a bike rack by the front wheel have returned to find the front wheel still locked to the rack, and the rest of the bike gone.
The rule of thumb you will want to follow is to lock your bike to a metal structure that is securely fastened in cement or otherwise fastened securely to the cement, and which cannot be easily cut or dismantled. If you are locking to a metal pole, make sure that it is securely fastened in cement, or that the bolts are not loose or easily removed. Also, be aware that thieves have been known to remove traffic signs from poles and then slide the bike up over the pole. Never lock your bike to a wooden railing or small tree—thieves have been known to cut through these to remove the bike. Choose a well-lit area with pedestrian traffic. You will want the smallest lock that will secure your bike to a rack. Your u-lock is at its strongest when there is no extra space between the bike, the rack, and the lock in which a thief can slip a lever or a jack.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you can keep cruising for years without any bumps in the road.