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Video aims to reduce bike theft in Calgary

We see it time and again.

Keen cyclist / high school student rides bike to school on a cold winter day. It’s the only bike in the schools rack – and it’s easy pickings for thieves because only the front tire is locked to rack.

All a bad guy has to do is loosen the quick releases on the front tire – and they’ve got a bike. They can go out and buy a front tire – or better yet, strip the bike down and sell the components.

Youth en Route knows that the risk of bike theft is a big barrier to students choosing active travel.  Risk of theft is the No. 3 reason for not riding to school, after distance and weather. At some schools, 60% of students tell us they are afraid of losing their wheels.

Good lock is key to preventing theft

So, we gathered some partners to create a video to help kids learn how to lessen the chance of theft.

Leveraging partners, student talent

“While this video is aimed at students, it’s really for all Calgarians. These four steps are easy to consider as you choose a lock, location and technique,” explains Laura Shutiak, founder and executive director of Youth en Route. “We know that the only way to really reduce theft is to educate bike owners.”

For 12 CSI, the involvement in the video is a result of the work to make communities safer. Bike Theft, and abandoned bikes are an ongoing challenge for the communities served by 12 CSI. They make safety videos about a range of topics and share in many languages to Calgarians.“Bike theft is a huge issue in all communities, whether we see it on community social media pages or speaking with Community Association members, the numbers are high and often unreported to Police” says Larry Leach, the executive director of 12CSI and a board member of Youth en Route. He adds “ Not only are we concerned about the bike theft itself, but the potential of other crimes being committed by the person who stole it”.

It’s a big problem

In 2021, there were 1,167 stolen bikes reported to Calgary Police.. But many people don’t even bother reporting when their bike is stolen, so the number is probably much higher. Thefts at schools is also a problem – there’s been bike stolen from racks at all of Youth en Route’s project schools.

A key part of the video is about Bike Index, an online catalog where owners can register their bike, its serial number and description. If the bike is stolen, it’s easier for police to return recovered bikes. Return rates have almost doubled over the past two years, thanks to the increased number of Calgarians registering their bikes. You can pick up a Bike Index sticker at all Calgary Police district offices.

B&P Cycle and Sport was one of our partners on this video. Owner Brent Fasick noted that ironically, locks are the No. 1 item stolen in his shop. “It’s kind of ironic,” said Fasick.

Jack in action

A special thanks to the team of young people who made this production possible. Cast members Bettiel,  Justina, Kelly, Jack and Lauchlan. Editor Ben Kawchuk and voiceover actor Emma.

Watch the video here.

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