In a city that is so geared towards cyclists, the number of bike thefts in Dublin seems to be on an ever increasing upward trend.
Since 2008, the number of reported cases of stolen bicycles has stepped up dramatically, with an increase of 167%.
An average of 4,950 bikes are stolen annually, according to the Dublin Cycling Campaign. This figure represents an average of 14 bikes every day, and the sad fact is that only a small percentage of these crimes are ever solved.
In the past two years, Dublin Gardai have taken measures to apply the brakes to the upward trend of thefts.
Garda officers have introduced GPS fitted bikes onto the streets of Dublin, which are then monitored for activity, enabling officers to track the bikes which are taken.
According to Insp Liam Geraghty, of Pearse Street Garda station, this type of operation significantly helps to “develop intelligence as to where stolen bikes go.”
In a four month period last year, over 100 people were arrested in Dublin in relation to bike thefts.
How to prevent your bike being stolen
It should go without saying that a bike lock is a must if you’re leaving a bike unattended in the city. Dublin Cycling campaign recommends investing in a U-lock, which are much sturdier than the usual cables or chains.
The U-lock is made up of two solid pieces, and is designed to fit around a standard bike stand, while still leaving space for a wheel and frame. It is also recommended that a secondary cable or chain is attached to the U-lock to prevent individual tyre theft.
Taking note of your frame serial number is another must, and could prove invaluable in the event of your bike being taken
Police refer to these frame serial numbers as a means of tracking down stolen bikes, but unfortunately only 10% of people who report missing bikes know the serial number of their bike frame, complicating matters for the Gardai who work towards returning bikes they have managed to recover.
When buying a bike, take steps to ensure that it is legitimate. Buying a stolen bike will only fuel the demand for stolen bikes being peddled on the black market, and lead to further thefts.
Always ask for a receipt of sale when buying second hand.
Be smart about where you leave your bike. It goes without saying that a bike left out on the street is at much higher risk of being taken by an opportunist than one locked away in a house or shed.
College Green, Parnell Street, Dame Street and the streets around St Stephen’s Green have previously been identified as hotbeds of activity for bike thieves.
If you’re worried about investing in a bike only to have it stolen, there is always the option to rent a bike from the popular Coca-Cola Zero Dublinbikes scheme, which has stands of bikes ready to be dropped back off at any time of the day or night.
Details of the scheme can be found on the website link below.
What to do if your bike is stolen
Below is a direct link to the Garda.ie website, where bike theft up to the value of €500 can be reported. It is important to have your frame serial number when reporting a theft, as well as proof that the bike is your own, for example a picture of yourself with the bike.
The link below is an online compilation of stolen goods recovered by the Garda, including bicycles.
For further reading, take a look at this interview with a former bike thief, who reveals his methods, targets, and how he would fence his stolen bikes-