The number of bicycle thefts in Estonia's larger cities has gone up considerably compared to last year. While bicycles are more of a rare sight during the snowy period, thieves often nab them from staircases, corridors or basements.
There are apartment building staircases lined up with bicycles in the city of Tartu, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday. Despite the door phone, all three bicycles belonging the the family of former tenant Hannamari Vaher were stolen.
"The first two bicycles went before bicycle stands were installed. And the third was taken from the staircase handrail. Losing three of them in one year ended up being quite costly," Vaher told ERR.
She said that their bicycles were not the only ones to be taken from the building. "I guess they know how to get in, have found a pot of gold and and come steal when nobody is home," Vaher said.
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) registered 592 bicycle thefts by the end of November last year, but has already noted close to 700 this year. Thefts in Tallinn and Tartu are considerably up year-on-year.
"Mostly staircases and basements, where bicycles have been left unlocked. People are also responsible for the basement being locked. We cannot speak of an increase in the number of thefts from locked basements," said PPA Tartu prevention and procedure service director Timo Reinthal.
In a large apartment building, there could be hundreds of people, ranging from former residents to food couriers, with knowledge of the staircase door phone lock. "You must see if the staircase door is locked, if the bicycle itself is locked. Perhaps there is a better place to store your bicycle," Reinthal noted.
In her new residence, Hannamari Vaher keeps her bicycle in her apartment. "I would rather carry it up multiple stories than see it go away again," she said.
Although the peak season for bicycle thefts traditionally takes place in spring, the safety of bicycles should be considered in winter, as well. The likelihood of getting your bicycle back is not great, but a theft should certainly still be reported to the police.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste