BIcycle theft has long been known to Singapore cyclists with Kembangan receiving special mention in this blog and a a reference to a 2005 initiative to combat bicycle theft. So it's been going on for along time and as a result, cyclists like me never take my eyes off my bicycle, nor will I lock keep it outside my house in a car park.
This report, in deciding to highlight the issue once again, should help to keep us on guard!
"Lock up your bikes - theft is on the rise," by Leong Wee Keat. Today Online, 07 Aug 2009.
ONE cyclist removed his mountain-bike's saddle and seat-post. Another cyclist covered his bicycle with a piece of cloth. Both locked their prize rides outside their homes. And both had them stolen in the first six months of this year.
The number of thefts rose slightly in the first half, a fact the police attribute to the economic downturn. There were 10,280 cases, or 246 more than in the same period last year. The increase in petty thefts notably involved items such as bikes, handphones, accessories and toiletries being stolen for personal use or to be sold off for cash. Bicycles, for instance, were often nicked from common areas such as void decks, corridors and at MRT stations.
In fact, on online forums, it is common to see users posting photos of their missing rides and appealing for information. Some have claimed their stolen bicycles, or at least their parts, surfaced at second-hand bazaars.
How to deter bicycle thieves? The police advise, for instance, locking the bike to a fixed permanent structure such as an anchored rack, and not resting the locking device on the ground thieves could use a hammer to smash it.
One crime-fighting initiative, rolled out by the Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Centre, imprints a registration number on the bicycle's body using a tamper-proof tape. This has helped officers to determine ownership, deter theft and return the stolen property to its rightful owner.
But such petty thefts aside - and contrary to fears that the overall crime rate would rise along with desperation levels during a recession - the overall crime rate in the first six months actually fell by 1.3 per cent. Though the number of housebreaking incidences rose, the figure is still the second lowest recorded in 15 years for first-half statistics.