Police and property owners are grappling with a significant uptick in vehicle thefts around various cities: mopeds and scooters are being snatched-up at a discerning rate. What are police and others doing to curb the thefts, and what can owners do to help their cause
Here are some tips from Law Enforcement Agencies to prevent you from becoming the next victim.
Examples of Moped locks
- Out of Sight Our of Mind. – The less your moped/scooter is seen, the less likely a thief will notice it. If you don’t have a garage, keep it covered. Not knowing what’s underneath makes it harder to assess the difficulty of stealing it, or even to know if it’s even a bike they want. In motorcycle terms, by putting a BMW cover on your Harley, you can also create the impression that it is a bike that is less likely to be stolen than what it actually is.
- Steer Clear – Although readily defeated, your bike’s steering lock can be a first-step defense and will discourage easy maneuvering of the bike. It is even more useful if your ignition and steering locks are separate, so the thief needs to defeat two locks to escape with your scooter. Many local mopeds have been stolen because they ONLY used an ignition lock (see next item).
- The Power of Two -It’s best to use two or more locks of different types in addition to your bike’s built-in lock(s). Unless a thief has conducted surveillance on your bike, he probably won’t be prepared to tackle different kinds of locks. And if one of them anchors the bike to something immovable, a gang won’t be able to carry it to a truck.
- Keep It Up – Whatever lock you use; don’t rest it on the ground where the thief is more likely to be able to get enough leverage to break it. If you attach to lock up and away from the ground, the thief probably won’t get that extra leverage to pry the lock. The lock should be attached through the frame, or less desirably through the forks or wheel.
- Lock It Down – A disc lock might inconvenience joy-riders, but determined thieves can simply hoist such a bike into a waiting truck. If you add a cable to it and anchor that to something solid, you have a more formidable obstacle. Even bikes inside garages should be securely locked.
- You Get What You Pay For -Go for the good stuff when shopping for security: Alarmed disc locks, U-locks of hardened steel and asymmetrical chains (5/8 inches or greater) all rate highly. Cheap lock are easily broken.
- Get Sneaky – If you’re really determined to foil the bad guys, wire up a kill-switch or spring-loaded switch that must be held down when the start button is depressed. Some riders have foiled attempted thefts by simply removing the main fuse when they parked their bikes.
- So That’s the Key! -Make a record of your key numbers, and then file them off the locks if they’re stamped on. Anyone with that number can have a duplicate key cut to fit.
- Shine a Light – If you park outside; choose a well-lit, conspicuous area. If you can’t lock your bike to something solid and stationary, try another bike (preferably not one belonging to a stranger). Even plastering your bike with “Alarm Installed” stickers could discourage thieves.
- Make Some Noise – Alarms may seem like a good way to attract attention to the fact that someone is attempting to purloin your bike, but in most places we have gotten so used to false alarms that people don’t investigate or even bother to look. But everyone pays attention to sounds of destruction—such as breaking glass. At home, a large stack of glass bottles with a trip wire makes a sound that everyone will investigate when it gets tipped over.
- Be Mindful of People Following You – Professional thieves often find the bikes they want to steal (probably because they have orders for them) by following them to where they are parked during the day or night. Then they size up the situation and come back with what they need to steal the motorcycle. So, as you approach your destination, especially if it’s your home, watch your mirrors for several blocks. If someone seems to be following you, try to lose them, pull over and let them pass (leaving an escape route in case they are bike-jackers), make a U-turn, or go around the block.
Anyone who continues to follow you is probably trouble. Don’t go home or into your company or school parking lot until you have shaken them off.
- Remove it Or Lose It Last but not least, remember to remove your cable, disc or U-lock before riding away
Report suspicious activity to Law Enforcement immediately and provide as much descriptive information as is possible. Keep emergency numbers either programmed into your phone or readily accessible. Never leave your keys in the vehicle while it is unattended. Park your vehicle in well -lit and highly visible areas. Keep a record of descriptive information about your vehicle: Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), License Plate number, make, model, color, and unique characteristics. Immobilize your moped when not in use by securing the wheels with a locking device and/or locking the moped to a fixed object.
If you observe unusual activity, try to remember details as best you can. For example, what a person was wearing or any other identifiers like scars, tattoos or shoes. Please always be aware of your surroundings, avoid walking alone at night, and notify Law Enforcement immediately if you observe potentially dangerous situations or individuals.
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