WESTFIELD—As the weather gets warmer, police say bikes get stolen more often.
Westfield Police Sgt. Eric Hall, who heads the Community Police Unit, reported that stolen bikes have been on the rise in the last two months since the weather has gotten warmer, and this is a trend that has been ongoing for many years. There are several factors involved and practicing proper bike safety can help reduce the chances of you being a victim.
“There isn’t a large ring where people are stealing bikes and swapping parts, it’s usually a crime of convenience,” Hall said. “They take the bike, ride it to where they need to go and dump it somewhere.”
According to Hall and police records, reported bike thefts from Jan. to April of this year have totaled seven, while five were reported in May and 11 were reported already in June. And while these numbers may not seem too high, these are only the bikes that are reported stolen.
Hall said that more bikes are not reported stolen because people feel that the police cannot do anything about it. However, Hall said that even if the thieves are not caught, the bikes can be recovered, so reporting the bikes as missing can help.
Reporting a stolen bike doesn’t only increase your chance of getting it back, but it also helps police.
“If your bike is stolen report it, because it kind of gives us an idea,” Hall said. “Four or five bikes stolen on one street and only one person reports it we are looking at it as a fluke,” but if police receive reports on every bike that was stolen they can notice trends and prevent further crime.
Additionally, in order to increase your chances of getting your stolen property back, Hall suggests taking pictures of your bikes, as well as writing down the serial numbers on the frame, so that it can be identified if it’s found.
Hall said that at the police station currently, there are about 10 to 15 bikes that have been found, and most of them are not in the original condition, whether they are spray painted or otherwise altered, so the serial number is key in finding your stolen bike.
Of course, the best way to not be a victim is to take steps to prevent the crime from happening in the first place.
Hall suggests always locking your bike up, even if you will be going into a place for a brief period of time—because if the temptation isn’t there, then the chance of a crime is much lower.
But if your bike has been stolen, check in with the Westfield Police Department at (413)562-5411, and give a description of your bike to police. In the end, you may be fortunate enough to get it back.