SAVANNAH, GA (March 3, 2011): In an effort to combat a surge in bicycle thefts and the inability to return recovered bikes to their owners, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police have scheduled a Bicycle Rodeo on Saturday.

SCpl. Willet Williams, Crime Prevention Officer in the Downtown Precinct, said the Rodeo will be held at the fort near the middle of Forsyth Park from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

During the free event, Police will present tips on securing bicycles, recording serial numbers and registering those serial numbers with SCMPD. The serial numbers are important. Some bicycles are recovered but never returned to their owners because this 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,” Williams said.

So far this year, 89 bicycles have been reported stolen and four have been recovered. Of those reported stolen, only 18 owners were able to provide the serial numbers. In 2010, 467 bicycles were reported stolen and 21 were recovered. But 413 of the owners were unable to provide serial numbers.

Many of the thefts are reported in the Downtown Precinct where a large number of students use them for transportation. Williams is building a data base of registration numbers to help return recovered bicycles. But he suggests owners maintain the records as well and even post them on the bicycle in inconspicuous locations, such as inside handlebars or the seat posts.

Other theft prevention suggestions include:

  • 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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