The Bicycle Thief, caught.
A former crackhead tells all in the Guardian about his career as a bicycle thief and what he does to avoid having his own bike stolen. We have noted before that the weight of the bike lock is inversely proportional to the weight of the bike, and Aziz basically concurs, using two thick chains through both wheels and the frame.
He tells the Guardian the tricks of the trade:
CCTV it seems, is also no deterrent. "Even if there is cameras they don't care. For me the best place is to leave your bike is a place where there are people around."
But even the busiest streets empty out eventually, so if Aziz really wanted a particular bike he would damage a tyre so the owner would leave it in the rack for longer. "Someone, if they find their tyre punctured they should take their bike with them, right at that minute because someone has done it on purpose to come and take it after."
Owners of bikes costing more than a few hundred quid should always take them indoors. Whenever Aziz's crack dealer got wind of an expensive bike locked up in the area he would send Aziz out to fetch it. Thieves also watch where expensive bike are regularly parked. For anyone with outdoor parking, he recommends riding a cheaper bike.
I am not certain having a lot of people around is a big deterrent; I was at a busy intersection when a clearly addled thief was banging a bike back and forth, trying to break the lock. There must of been 30 people right there and nobody wanted to interfere, including myself. The police have bigger fish to fry as well; Aziz continues:
"There is a really slight chance of you getting caught when you are nicking bikes. You just crack it, get on it, gone. When they nick bikes they paint them ... you don't even know it's your bike. [In London] no one is going to know, they are not going to stop you...You can steal from north London and go to west London and you're alright."
More in the Guardian
Bonnie has provided a good list of things to do to keep your bike:
6 Ways to Avoid Bike Theft
Cyclists Fight Back with Exploding Bike Lock
How (Not) To Lock Your Bike: The Return of Hal
If Bike Theft Makes You Fat, Better Bike Parking Makes You Thin
7 Ways Cities Can Make Your Bike More Secure