The following information on preventing moped theft was recently released from the Charleston Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit:
Mopeds are being stolen at an alarming pace in the low-country. Here are some tips to prevent you from becoming the next victim.
- Hide or disguise it.
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.
- First lock to ALWAYS use.
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).
- Add some more Locks
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. (remember though, it is unlawful to attach to a Bike Rack,
fence, parking meter, or utility pole downtown)
- 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.
- Don’t be Cheap
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.
- Get Sneaky – Additional electronic prevention
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.
- Keep them from using Duplicate Keys
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 key cut to fit.
- Park in lit areas
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 attract attention to the fact that someone is attempting
to steal your bike. Try additional noise makers at home (ex: a large stack of glass bottles with a trip wire
makes a sound that everyone will investigate when it gets tipped over.)
- Watch Your Back
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.