The other day I met someone who recently had her bike stolen. Not long into the conversation she said, "and of course it's MY fault." Evidently she had been given advice on what she could have done better to prevent such a theft.
Many people are inclined to offer advice on strong U-locks and other ways of making wheels and components theft-deterrent upon meeting someone who's had his/her bike stolen. While these remarks are well-intentioned, victims of a recent theft tend to see themselves as, well, "victims." And rightfully so. They may be seeking comfort and sympathy more than they are seeking advice. If you spoke to someone who was mugged on the street, you wouldn't bombard them with questions about which route they took and what time of day it was. If such questions are asked, they should be asked very delicately, and only after consoling the victim first. The same is true of bike theft.
What do you feel is the best way to respond to a stranger or mild acquaintance who recently had a bike stolen?