Community bands together to tackle increasing bike and scooter thefts
Residents will come together with Victoria Police to address a growing concern of bike and scooter thefts in their community.
The local residents’ group, Southbank3006, is hosting a forum with Victoria Police on February 26 to discuss and develop strategies to improve bike and scooter safety and security in apartment buildings and on the streets of Southbank.
At the forum, to be held at the Boyd Community Hub from 2pm to 4pm, locals will have the chance to hear from police on the issue, with bike ownership engraving and registration also available on the day.
Police have seen an increase in thefts not just in public places but also in car parks and multi-dwelling locations in Southbank.
“Bicycle thefts have always been an issue and scooters are emerging as a mode of transport so there’s a lot of scooter thefts too,” Southbank Police Station commander Senior Sergeant Alex O’Toole said.
There are a lot of bikes that do get stolen even with locks unfortunately. People need to make sure they use a heavy-duty D-lock or a high-quality bike lock and to ensure they park it in as safe an area as possible and covered by CCTV.
Among those to have experienced their bike almost falling into the hands of a thief was Julian, a Southbank resident, who caught a man in the act of breaking a lock on his bike in the garage of his apartment building at 2am on January 23.
“I heard him getting to work. I can hear it because the bedroom is above the garage,” he said, before witnessing the would-be thief using a long metal bar to break the bike lock.
Julian, who asked for his surname not to be used, said he stayed on his balcony as the incident unfolded, but as soon as he shouted at the offender, the offender ran off, leaving the bike behind.
“I assume he followed someone through the garages earlier in the day; he then gummed up the internal and external door jambs to ensure he could enter at night when he wanted to,” he said.
Julian said he filmed the offender after he broke a security camera in the garage.
“The following day I spoke with the police; apparently they apprehended the guy for another, non-bike related offence in another garage of the apartment complex,” he said.
Speaking of his own experience, Julian said, “It was mildly shocking. But not really all that surprising; this happens all the time in cities.”
Snr Sergeant O’Toole said there was an ongoing issue of opportunist thieves using cars to “tailgate” into residential car parks before stealing items from storage cages.
“The thing is don’t allow people to tailgate because that increases the risk of theft,” she said.
“Also, if residents have the ability to put their bike in a bike cage as opposed to putting it on the street – take that opportunity, that reduces the risk of theft.”
Southbank3006 believed the forum was an important step in creating a safe environment for cyclists and scooter riders. The group is encouraging all residents to attend.
“The best preventive measure is an engaged community, a community who is not afraid to call out wrongdoing, a neighbourhood watch so to speak. And we are seeing more of this community connection in Southbank,” Southbank3006’s vice president Jannine Pattison said. •
Captions: L-R: Southbank3006 vice president Jannine Pattison, Constable Denna Jacobs and Constable Jas Kaur.
Image taken from a video by a resident capturing the moment when a would-be thief broke a lock on a bicycle in a residential building in Southbank.