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9Wants to Know: Denver's top 10 worst bike racks for thefts

9:55 PM, May 20, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER-A police bike theft database obtained by 9Wants to Know reveals the worst back racks targeted by thieves. From a college campus, a light rail stop to several downtown locations, thieves have their favorite areas to target.

"You take it personally," said Nick Wilson, who recently had his bike stolen at the light rail stop near University of Denver. The DU stop is the third-worst location.

"Although this guy probably doesn't know me, and I don't know him, you take it as a personal attack," Wilson said.

The data shows all the reported bike thefts in Denver for 2012 and reveals the following top 10 locations where the most thefts occurred:

Top Bike Theft Locations

1200 LARIMER ST - 19 bikes - Auraria Campus
1460 LITTLE RAVEN ST - 17 bikes - Parking Garage
1901 E BUCHTEL BLVD - 15 bikes - Light Rail Station
3000 E 1ST AVE- 12 bikes - Cherry Creek Mall
700 14TH ST - 12 bikes - Convention Center
1111 W COLFAX AVE - 11 bikes - Auraria Campus
10 W 14TH AVE - 11 bikes - Denver Public Library
777 N BANNOCK ST - 11 bikes - Denver Health Medical Center
1416 PLATTE ST - 10 bikes - REI
1151 ARAPAHOE ST - 10 - Auraria Campus

Map of all of the 2012 bike thefts in Denver

The Denver Police Department says there were 1,666 reported thefts in 2012. An increase from 1,410 reported thefts in 2011 and 1,339 in 2010.

According to the Auraria Campus Police department, its data shows 83 bike thefts were reported campus-wide in 2012.

Specifically at 1200 Larimer, the Denver Police Department database shows 19 bikes were stolen at that location on campus.

"Just by sheer numbers, we are going to get more problems over here," said Detective Leonard Peet with the Auraria Campus Police Department. "They [thieves], come on campus and appear to be a student. They carry backpacks to conceal their burglary tools."

The problem is so bad on the Auraria Campus, the bike racks on have stickers warning people about the high theft area and that "cable locks are ineffective."

A bad sign of a good trend

"People really don't know how prevalent it is," said Piep van Heuven, executive Director of BikeDenver. "I do think bike thefts in Denver are an under-reported crime."

Van Heuven said while it's good news more people are biking in the Denver area and that the city is becoming more bike friendly, the recent spike in bike thefts is a bad side effect of a good trend.

"It's a serious problem," Van Heuven said.

A recent bike survey placed Denver as the nation's third most bikeable cities, falling behind Portland and San Francisco.

"Well there are a lot of bikes around town and there are a lot of bikes to choose from. They are very adept at taking a look at what the easy soft is target is," Van Heuven said.

Cable Lock Problem

A common complaint 9Wants to Know heard during the newsgathering process of this report was focused on the ineffectiveness of cable locks.

"They can be cut up really easily, almost with anything," said Scott Taylor, owner of the Salvagetti bike shop.

Taylor finds cable locks so ineffective, he won't sell them.

"I have to sleep at night. We are a for-profit business, but we want to have a conscience," Taylor said.

Taylor often points customers to this YouTube video he made showing how easy it is to cut through a cable lock.

At the Auraria Campus, Detective Peet said in the 16 years he's been an officer at that location, he's never taken a bike theft report that didn't involve a cable lock.

"They're cheaper, but they really don't work," said Van Heuven. BikeDenver recommends people should use two different locks on their bikes.

How to protect your bike

Register your bikeMost bike serial numbers can be found at the bottom of the pedal crank. 

Take photos of your bike even before you even take it out for a ride. Keep your purchasing paperwork in a spot at home you can easily find it.

Try to use two different locks and avoid parking your bike in public places over night.

When you do lock up your bike, make sure you're locking up your frame and not just the tires. Thieves will make the effort to take off your frame if you lock your bike only using the tire.

Try to use bike racks when locking up your bike. Avoid using sign posts or parking meters.

When you do lock up your bike, make sure you're locking up your frame and not just the tires. Thieves will make the effort to take off your frame if you lock your bike only using the tire.

If possible, remove any accessories you may have on your bike, including lamps and even bicycle seats.

If your bike is stolen, contact police and file a report. You may find your bike on Craiglist or EBay. Try to spread the word on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

If you do think you found your bike for sale online, don't approach the seller yourself. Call police.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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