According to Insurance News Net bicycle theft rises by 5.1% each year in Florida. The latest FBI Uniform Crime report states that from 2007-2011 bicycle theft rose an average of 5.1% yearly. Almost 18,000 bikes are reported missing or stolen in Florida every year. This figure is not taking into account how many go unreported.
Tampa has taken measures to help prevent this and increase the amount of stolen or missing bicycles found by creating a bike registry. In addition to that local police have come up with a system to try and catch local bike thieves by attaching GPS to bikes, “bait bikes”, in hopes of catching bike thieves.
There are measures you can take to help protect your bicycle from being stolen:
- Register your bike. You can provide the serial number and photos of your bicycle so in the event it is recovered the chances of it being returned to you increase.
- Buy a secure lock and always keep your bike locked. Even if you only plan to leave it unattended for a short amount of time you want to find a safe place to lock it so thieves are unable to ride away with it.
- If you have options of where you can lock your bicycle, choose an area with the most amount of foot and/or car traffic. The more witnesses around the less chance someone will try to take your bike.
- When locking your bicycle up make sure to secure the frame. By this we mean, connect a part of the bike that cannot be taken apart or cut to the bike rack. If you place your lock somewhere that can easily come free by removing a few screws it is very easy for bike thieves to walk away with it.
- Insure it. Most homeowners insurance policies offer some coverage in the event your bicycle is stolen but it is good to see if there is additional coverage or polices made directly for bicycles.