A good bike store is on the front-line of bicycle defence (probably even more than the cops are), whether that's through the bicycles or locks it sells. And, at Curbside we have a lot of experience with both.
Once upon a time we thought it was all about the bike. Like many of our customers, we were convinced that bikes were stolen on value, and that the lower the value of the bike, the less chance it would be stolen. However, while this is perfectly logical, it's not really true.
A typical scenario ten years ago was a customer coming in asking for the cheapest or ugliest bike because theirs just got stolen, and they wanted to make sure their new bike wasn't "attractive to thieves." In the war against bicycle thieves, this is a reasonable tactic but unfortunately it most often doesn't work. The best tactic, as Sun Tzu said, is to know thine enemy.
So, who is the thief? Research shows that there are at least three types of bicycle thieves. Some are professional, some are opportunists, but the ones generally stealing your bike can't even be called professional. North American research is nice and calls them "amateurs," but Dutch research calls them what they really are - drug addicts - and they're not remotely sophisticated. As the chart below shows, this is the majority of all bike theft. So, while it makes sense to mythologize the thief into an eternally clever MacGuyver who is out to break the baddest of all bicycle locks to get your bike and your bike only, it's really a crack-head with a crowbar or a cable cutter. That's your enemy, and he (or she) is pretty easy to defeat.