Police: Rash of Bike Thefts Hits Evanston

Officers observed an uptick in reports of stolen bicycles over the past couple of weeks.

Bicycle riders, watch out: police say there’s been a recent increase in bicycle theft in Evanston.

A total of 19 bikes and a handful of bicycle parts were stolen over the past two weeks, according to reports from the . And those numbers are high enough that police officers are taking notice. At a recent meeting, officers noted that the number of bike thefts had risen above average, according to police spokesperson Perry Polinski. 

While police are still investigating the individual thefts, Polinski said there may be a simple explanation for the rash of stolen bicycles.

“This is the peak of summer, so there’s more people on bicycles,” he said, adding  that a down economy may also increase the numbers of bicyclists.

Of the 19 bicycle thefts that occurred between July 12 and 26, many involved bicycles that were not properly secured. Four bikes were stolen from unlocked garages during that two-week period, and three were stolen from yards where they had also been left unsecured. Two more went missing from the common area of an apartment or condo. 

“Like anything else crime-wise, it comes down to giving people an opportunity,” Polinski said. “People really need to secure their bikes in a shed or a garage.” 

Polinski explained that bike-owners should purchase a lock that can secure both the frame and the tire, such as a U-luck with a cable, and lock both parts anywhere they leave their bikes. Bike-owners should also record the brand name and model and the serial number of their bicycles. In case they are stolen, this information makes it easier for police to retrieve them, Polinski explained. 

Residents who wish to take security one step further and register their bicycles with the police department’s records department can do so at 847-866-5000. The fee is just 50 cents, according to Polinski. 

Over the course of a year, the police department recovers more than 100 bicycles, he said. 

“Sometimes they steal them just to get from point A to point B,” Polinski explained. When the thief arrives at the second destination, he or she simply dumps the bike. 

In some cases, thieves have even stolen a newer bike and left behind an old one. 

“People need to not leave their bikes in plain view,” Polinski said. “If it’s out in the open, the temptation is there to steal it.”


Lonson Williams July 27, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Polinski is correct that you need to lock your bike securely in two places with a U-lock and a cable. The problem is that a) there are not enough bike racks at many commercial destinations and b) that where you do find racks they are often unsuited to being able to lock at two contact points. Many businesses in town--like the YMCA have the lame "wave" racks or the school-yard "jail bar" racks. These are not very effective for locking your bike up securely. It is crazy that the city of Evanston doesn't have an ordinance requiring properly designed bike parking. Many other communities have this. Evanston is way behind the times.
Jennifer Fisher August 01, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Lonson, that's an interesting point. What does a good bike rack look like? Can you give an example? I didn't know some were better than others.


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