SCMPD holding Bicycle Rodeo to combat thefts

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham Metro Police are holding a Bicycle Rodeo on Saturday in an effort to combat rising bicycle thefts.

The rodeo will be held near the fort in the middle of Forsyth Park from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Police will give tips on securing bicycles, recording serial numbers and registering the serial numbers with SCMPD. SCMPD says the serial number is extremely important because some bicycles are recovered but never returned to their owners because the information is unavailable.

"We always try to find the owner when bicycles are recovered, but that's impossible when we don't have the serial numbers," said SCpl. Willet Williams, crime prevention officer in the Downtown Precinct.

SCMPD reports that so far this year 89 bicycles have been stolen and only four have been recovered. In 2010, 467 bicycles were stolen and 21 were recovered. Of the 467, 413 owners were unable to provide serial numbers. Many of the thefts occured in the downtown area where a large number students use bicycles for transportation.

SCpl. Williams is building a database of registration numbers to help recover stolen bicycles. He suggests owners also maintain records and try posting the information in inconspicuous locations, such has inside handlebars or in the seat posts.

SCMPD has offered addition prevention suggestions below:

  • Lock bicycles to sturdy, immovable objects that cannot be broken or removed. (Many stolen recently were secured to wooden railing spindles or chain-link fences that were easily broken or cut.)
  • Avoid securing to short items, such as signs, that may allow a thief to simply lift the bike over the item or pull it from the ground.
  • Invest in best quality lock(s) – usually hardened steel U-lock or steel chain and padlock.
  • Keep your bike locked, even in a garage or on a porch.
  • Lock at least one wheel (preferably both) and the frame to a metal rack or other stationary object. If only one wheel is locked, the rest of the bike can be taken easily.
  • If quick-release wheels and seat are not necessary, replace them with bolt-on items. If they are needed, secure them to your frame or take them with you.
  • Take with you lights, mirrors, bags, etc. not securely fastened to the bike.
  • Consider riding inexpensive bikes for short trips and everyday use.
  • Two different locks (one for each wheel) force thieves to use two different tools to release the bike.
  • Check on your bike if you don't ride it daily. (Some reports involve bikes the owners have not seen in weeks.)

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