13,718 bikes were stolen in Hamburg in 2018. That’s more than 37 per day.

Sorry, Eimsbüttel, but you are actually top of the list – with 754 stolen bikes in the course of last year.

At first glance, these numbers might sound somewhat depressing. And yet there can be a bright future for Hamburg in terms of theft protection too. After all, there are multiple ways of protecting your beloved bike by creating obstacles for the criminal mind. So let’s catch up on some of these!

First things first: claim your ownership.

So why is this important? Just to illustrate the point: in 2017, police seized 1,500 bikes that were stored in a warehouse in the district of Rothenburgsort. And yet for only 20 of these bikes it was possible to document a crime. Simply because police had to identify beyond any doubt the owner for each and every bike. Sounds like a lot of work, and certainly frustrating in the given case. Life is so much easier if the owner can be identified in the matter of seconds. Plus, it helps to keep thieves at arm’s length.

Here are five tips for scaring away bike thieves.

The Hamburg Police recommends that you have your bicycle coded.

The Hamburg Police recommends coding your bike.

When you have your bike coded, a unique owner identification number is cut into the upper end of your saddle tube. This makes it less attractive for thieves as bikes can be clearly assigned to the relevant owner. Generally speaking, this method can be used for most bikes, with the exception of carbon-framed bikes and bikes with extremely thin-walled frames. Make sure to bring your ID or passport as well as written proof of ownership. Coding dates for 2019 can be found here. (German only)

Your bike is missing? Search online.

You might be able to locate your bike in the Hamburg Police’s database for stolen property. (German only)

Go to database