Welcome to the European Bike Stealing Championships 2015, which isn’t what it sounds like. The blog We Love Cycling, put unlocked bikes in three of Europe’s bike-theft hotspots, set up cameras, and waited for the thieves to show up.
The bikes were left in Prague, Amsterdam, and Rome, three of the worst cities for bike theft in Europe. According to We Love Cycling’s figures, these cities rank relatively low on the overall crime index (Rome, the worst here, is in 133rd place), but are still danger spots for bikes.
Why are bikes such desirable targets? Partly it’s demand–if there’s a market, people will fill it. Partly it’s because punishment is unlikely–only 1%-2% of thefts lead to a conviction. And partly its because bikes are easy to steal. Pro gangs will get through any lock in seconds, and many people (36%) use weak cable locks, or even no lock at all (38%). The bikes in the video don’t even require that.
You can’t stop your bike from being stolen, but you can try to make thieves move onto the next bike instead. We Love Cycling has plenty of tips, but most of them you probably know already. Buy a good lock, and learn to use it properly. Don’t park in dodgy spots, and always park next to a nicer bike with a worse lock than yours. Most important of all, don’t buy stolen bikes, because then you’re almost as bad as the thief who stole it.