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‘It sucks’: Langford bike shop grappling with mounting cost of break-ins

Westshore Town Centre has seen a number of mainly youth-related incidents in recent weeks
Chris Dickinson, owner of WestShore Bicycles in front of his store where the door was broken by a truck during a break-in. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

A Langford bike shop is grappling with the impact of crime after the store suffered its fourth break-in in three years.

A truck drove through the glass door of WestShore Bicycles on Feb. 23, with someone grabbing two $9,000 e-bikes and one $8,000 e-bike, none of which have been recovered, according to owner Chris Dickinson.

West Shore RCMP was called to the scene around 5:30 a.m. by a security guard. Forensic identification officers looked for fingerprints and tire treads, but couldn’t find any evidence and currently have no leads in the case, according to police spokesperson Cpl. Nancy Saggar.

Saggar added that the smash-and-grab technique is something the department’s seen be used but is not common.

Dickinson has been running the business in Langford for 14 years and never had any trouble until three years ago - in two instances, stolen bikes were never recovered.

Insurance will cover the losses, but with another break-in, Dickinson’s rates will likely go up.

Dickinson has also added extra security measures like bars on the windows and is working with the Westshore Town Centre on installing bollards – a short post used to create a protective perimeter – as an additional security measure, something Dickinson said he can’t really afford. Recently the Westshore Town Centre has moved some flower beds in front of the door where the break-in happened, which Dickinson hopes will deter people.

“It sucks that you have to do it, but you’ve got to do what you got to do - hopefully this stops people breaking in.”

The Westshore Town Centre has been highlighted in a number of police reports recently, seeing several calls over the weekend from March 3 to 5 and the following weekend from March 10 to 12, mainly calls about drunk teenagers loitering and getting into fights.

“This is a multifaceted issue, a lot of these kids have standing addiction issues, they’ve got a lot of family troubles going on, and maybe they don’t have the right supports. So we really need a wraparound approach here, it’s not something that just the police are going to be able to come in and arrest our way out of, we’re not going to be able to do that. We need to really support these youth that are struggling with the right type of help,” said Saggar, pointing to organizations like the Village Initiative and the Pacific Centre Family Services Association. She added parental influence is usually the best approach.

ALSO READ: Langford backs RCMP asks for new $82M building, more officers

West Shore RCMP Supt. Todd Preston has been making the rounds at municipal council meetings, including on Feb. 27 when he encouraged Langford to add more police officers this year.

“We want to make sure to be proactive so we don’t end up like downtown Victoria,” he said.

Some downtown businesses, like former-View Royal Mayor David Screech’s long-running downtown upholstery business, have faced troubles downtown, with Screech saying he was seriously considering moving in a previous interview with Black Press.

Though some may be considering a change, Dickinson has no plans to move his business.

“We like it in Langford, it’s a growing community and we have enjoyed it so far,” he said. “Definitely can’t move downtown.”

ALSO READ: West Shore RCMP deals with spate of youth incidents – including a brawl

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