With the growing popularity of bicycle riding for commuting and recreation comes the growing incidence of bicycle theft, prompting the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to take action with a public safety campaign aimed to "keep you on your bike and it out of the hands of thieves."
That's the message of a video presented by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which accompanies a set of tips offered to help stem the rise of bike thefts.
To further address the problem, the sheriff's office on Saturday, Jan. 19 is hosting four bicycle registration events throughout the county, including at the Brandon Recreation Center at 510 East Sadie St.
- See Registration Events Aim To Deter Bicycle Theft
"Traditionally, bicycle theft has been viewed by law enforcement as a relatively low priority," according to a sheriff's office report. "However, due to the increases in overall usage, criminal statistics show that nationally, the problem of bicycle theft is on the rise and needs to be addressed."
Bicycle Theft On The Rise
- According to the sheriff's office, bicycle commuting in Tampa increased 67 percent between 1990 and 2011.
- The League of American Bicyclists in 2012 rannked Tampa No. 15 among the nation's Bicycle Friendly Communities.
- "In correlation, there were about 722 bicycle thefts reported in Hillsborough County in 2011."
- "If the trend remains," bicycle thefts were expected to increase by almost 13.6 percent in 2012.
Tips To Protect Your Bike From Theft
(From the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)
- Secure your bicycle with an adequate lock or locks.
- If possible, park and secure your bike in a high-traffic, high-visibility area.
- Avoid "flyparking," which is when you secure your bicycle to any item that is not specifically designed for bicylce parking, such as a signpost or park bench.
- Whenever possible, secure your bicycle to a standard Sheffield or “П” shaped bike stand designed for bicycle parking.
- Lock your bicycle through the frame and both wheels to a bicycle rack or stand.
- Recommended is the combined usage of both a cable lock and a "U-bolt" shaped lock.
The public safety video released by the sheriff's office notes the proper way to lock a bike:
- A cable lock is the cheapest, easiest lock to use. Run it through the frame and the rear wheel and lock it to the bike rack. "That way the most someone can take off with is the front wheel."
- Preferably, if you have both a cable and U-bolt lock, run the cable through the back wheel as noted, then lock the front wheel to the frame. That way, a thief "can't run off with any of it," notes the video.
Has your bicycle been stolen? If so, under what circumstances, and what bicycle theft prevention tips would you recommend? Let us know in the comment box below.