Maybe if you live in Lisle or Lake in the Hills you can leave your kids’ bikes unlocked in an unlocked garage without fear they’ll be swiped. We don’t know because we’ve never lived in Long Grove or Lincolnshire and never particularly wanted to live in places like that.
We like the close-in ‘burbs where a marketing slogan like “Urban Suburban” actually explains the virtues of living in a small town suburb on the cusp of a great and complex city. This is Forest Park where you need a combination of street smarts and strong neighbor connections to avoid the bike theft hat trick that has befallen the Medina family this spring.
This family with seven years in town fears there is a “crime wave” underway after having three bikes – yes, three! – stolen since the first crocus bloomed. Most recently, last Saturday, they had a bike lifted from their front yard just hours after buying it at Costco.
We don’t call it a crime wave. We call it the spring bicycle relocation season. And if you don’t take active precautions with mobile items like bikes when you live in a town like Forest Park or Oak Park you are basically asking to be a victim. It never feels good to be a victim so we like the route the Medinas are taking.
They are helping to organize a meeting with neighbors on Dunlop to talk about ways they can work better together to keep watch. We’d suggest that the local cops get themselves an invite to this meeting so they can explain the necessity of keeping garage side doors locked and teaching kids that padlocking bikes even when they are just running into the house for a minute is the nature of life near the big city. The family is also thinking about adding security cameras, an idea Sgt. Mike Keating applauds.
FYI: Forest Park police found the bike from Costco and the three young, local teens who pretty brazenly snatched it from the front lawn. They don’t have records. They didn’t immediately sell the bike to feed a drug habit. They were kids being stupid.
In Forest Park there’s going to be more minor property crime. Precautions are essential. Being active neighbors is vital. Building the ties between neighbors and cops is basic.