A Square One Insurance Services study released yesterday found Vancouver has the highest rate of stolen bikes per 100,000 citizens at 513, higher than Calgary (250), Edmonton (228) and Winnipeg (169).
Randy Finchman, a media liaison officer for the Vancouver Police Department, said it’s important to keep these numbers in perspective.
“You need to put it in context,” he said. “Vancouver is a very livable city where you can ride a bike three hundred and sixty-five days a year. So the statistics may be somewhat skewed because our partners in Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto don’t have the ability to ride a bicycle that many days of the year which would obviously provide more potential for thieves to steal a bike.”
Finchman noted sometimes a spike can be a good thing, as a big issue for the VPD is many fail to report thefts to begin with.
While Toronto had more bikes stolen volume wise last year, the city’s per capita rate is much lower at 119.
Last year in Vancouver a total of 3,132 bikes were stolen according to Square One, compared with 2,167 in 2014, the biggest jump for any major city other than Edmonton which recorded 2,039 bikes stolen.
“A lot of it is encouraging reporting,” added Finchman, noting the VPD’s Project 529, which looks to increase bike registration numbers. The VPD estimates approximately nine bikes are stolen everyday during summer months.
Ellie Lambert, director of communications for HUB Cycling—formerly the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition—said this is discouraging given biking is booming across the region.
“Last year we saw a 32% increase in the number of people cycling in Vancouver, but we know that bike theft does deter people, so these new theft rates are disappointing.”
The VPD also recently launched Operation Rudy, which looks to deter thefts on Granville Island, a hot spot for thieves, by offering free locks and valet services.