Electric bike theft has tripled in Switzerland since 2019, reported RTS.
Recent police statistics show rising levels of theft across the country with rates rising most sharply in Basel and Geneva, two cities bordering on neighbouring countries.
In 2022, 2,000 electric bikes were reported stolen, a figure double the number in 2021.
Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, reported the greatest number of thefts, followed by Geneva and Basel.
On a per capita basis, Basel led with 7 electric bike thefts per 1,000 residents and Geneva was second, with 4 per 1,000. Zurich, Vaud and Valais had far lower rates: between 0.5 and 1.5 per 1,000.
According to the police in Geneva, the higher rate of electric bike theft there is because the city shares a border with France. The police think electric bike theft in the city is mainly organised crime rather than petty theft. Electric bikes are expensive, highly sought after items that are relatively easy to steal and sell. They can also be sold in pieces.
Many bike locks are surprisingly easy to cut. A video (below) by the City of London Police shows how easy most locks are to cut. Cable locks offer virtually no protection. A pair of hand cutters that fit in a pocket will cut these in seconds. Cheap D-locks can be quickly cut by larger cutters. The best protection is a thick hard high quality D-lock, although these can be cut with an electric angle grinder when accessible. No lock is uncuttable.
Tips for reducing the risk include choosing high quality hard D-locks and placing them in the right place. Locking through the frame down low at the back makes cutting much more difficult. Never lock through the top tube where cutting is much easier. Two high quality D-locks placed low down, one through the back of the frame and back wheel and another through the front of the frame and front wheel will put off most thieves.
Another video by Casey Neistat in NYC (above) shows how ineffective witnesses can be. Only after 9 minutes of grinding with a noisy electric angle grinder in a busy downtown location did anyone approach him as he attempted to steal his own bike. Eventually, he was spotted by the NYC police who intervened after countless witnesses walked past as he ground the lock. None of the five NYPD officers who intervened had ever caught a bicycle thief.