Has your garage been marked for thieves to target?
Biker’s garages are being targetted by thieves who look out for markers left by spotters.
Pawel Charytonowicz, from London, had his R1 stolen from a lock-up. When he was fitting new locks a few days later his daughter pointed out to him that there was a chalk ‘x’ marked next to his garage’s door. No other garage had a similar mark.
Pawel didn’t think too much about it, although he had heard that thieves had been known to mark property where valuables were kept.
Three weeks later and back at his lock-up, Pawel noticed another identical mark had appeared, this time next to the only other garage in the block where he knew another bike was stored. It confirmed his suspicions that another biker had been targetted. We are still waiting to hear if that bike was stolen.
The story emphasises how vigilant you need to be even when you are storing a motorbike in a locked garage. 80% of all motorcycle thefts in the UK are from home locations.
What can you do?
Most marks are made with chalk and should come off with brushing or even use a little water. If the mark is more permanent, one option is to mark all of the other garages in the block, to confuse the thieves. They are not going to bother breaking into every garage, it heightens the risk of being caught.
If there are properties overlooking the block, it could be an idea to go and knock on some doors and explain the situation. You need to be careful though, as one of the onlookers could actually be the person marking the garages in the first place. Don’t identify a particular garage where a bike is stored.
If there is CCTV, it may be worth speaking to the operators. One, you could find out who may have marked the garage so you can report them to the police; Two, you can ask the CCTV operators to be more vigilant with that particular camera – the result you are looking for is that the operators call the police during any attempted theft and the police get there is time.
Much more work, but ultimately the biggest deterrent in a garage complex, is to print and laminate some signs to be posted on every garage door, indicating that the authorities are aware the location has been targetted. This will also alert other garage users to the problem.
Make sure your bike is secured
Just hiding a motorbike in a garage is no deterrent to a thief. We’ve heard of bikes being lifted over cars. The only real way to stop them is to put as many obstacles as possible in their way, and that means serious locks.
As always, you can’t expect to protect a £6000 motorbike with a £60 lock. If you can’t afford a tracker, two disc locks and a solid chain hooked up to a ground anchor right now, do it gradually with each pay packet that can take the strain. Better that than losing your bike. Once you’ve made the investment, you’ll have the locks for life, so don’t look at it as just an expense you can’t afford right now. Buy the peace-of-mind.
If your bike has been stolen
If it’s too late and the bike has been stolen, there is still something you can do. Add the theft to our Stolen Motorbike Register. We are working to help the authorities identify bike crime hotspots. Your report will help us detect patterns in bike thefts and then put measures in place to prevent more thefts.
The database can also help to report a bike that has been found. We can’t promise you’ll get your bike back, but it might increase the chances of that happening.
Get yourself sorted:
If you spot any suspicious markings (they don’t have to be an ‘x marks the spot’) remove them or add to them to confuse the thieves.