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Western Springs Police Warn Residents About Increased Bike Thefts, Offer Tips

Police report trend of bikes stolen from public racks since April.

The is warning residents about a trend of bike thefts from public racks in the village.

According to a report released today, the department currently has nine open bike theft investigations of bikes stolen since April 2012. The bikes were typically taken during the day, and involved both locked and unlocked high-end models.

"Take the time the avoid making this an easy crime," Brain Budds, deputy chief said. "We want to make residents aware and give them some tips to avoid having this happen to them."

Budds said the department will be stepping up covert and and overt enforcement at the village's public racks while they continue to investigate.

Those with any information about bike theft in the village are asked to contact the Western Springs Police Department Investigations Division at 708-246-1800 ext. 159 or 160.

In an effort to make resident's more aware of the issue, police have provided some safety tips below.

Bike Theft in the News:

The issue of bike theft extends outside of Western Springs. In August, . Both men were seen at train stations in La Grange looking at bicycles. One of the men attempted to cut the lock off a bike with a pair of bolt cutters before being arrested, and the other was seen stealing a bike out of a garage.

Back in 2011, . We interviewed a La Grange resident who has had two bikes stolen from him while parking at the train station before heading to work. We also spoke with La Grange Police Chief Michael Holub about the difficulties police face in protecting resident's bikes.

One thing remains certain—an unlocked bike is pretty easy to steal. After a few years reporting on police blotters, it's not hard to see that bike theft is a very common crime in the western suburbs and lot of thefts are due to someone leaving their bike in a public area unlocked.

That's why we interviewed the experts at on La Grange for a crash course in how to protect your bike, and got their recommendation for which locks work best for your money and needs.

Bike Safety Tips:

Provided by Western Springs Police

  • When parking your bicycle for long periods of time, always lock your bicycle to something that is permanent and not easy for a thief to take (bicycle racks or a metal fence post).
  • Secure your bicycle with a U-style lock. U-locks are stronger than other locks. Make sure you buy a strong steel-alloy lock.
  • The thicker the padlock and chain the better. Chain links and lock clasps should be at least 3/8” of an inch thick. Look for locks and chains that are case-hardened as this process makes them hard to cut.
  • Don’t lock your bicycle to another bicycle or a small tree.
  • If you keep your bicycle in a garage, basement, or on a porch—lock it.
  • Whenever possible, leave your bicycle in an open area where many people pass by and your bicycle can be seen easily. Thieves usually don’t like audiences.
  • Leave your bicycle where you can get to it quickly. Thieves like to steal bicycles whose owners are far away.

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