Fairfax County Police issued a bulletin on their website Thursdaywarning area residents that bike thefts in the area are up.
"Crime analysts report an approximate 36-percent increase in the number of stolen bicycles when comparing similar time periods over the prior year," the department said.
According to the bulletin, from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012 there were roughly 265 bicycle thefts. During the same time period from 2012 to 2013, there were 361.
"Many of the bikes are taken when residents leave their garage doors open. Thieves simply seize the opportunity, take the bikes, and walk away," county police said.
The department said there are currently hundreds of stolen, unclaimed and found bicycles being stored in county facilities, as shown in the photos that accompany this article.
County crime prevention officers suggest bicycle owners take the following precautions to help prevent theft of their bicycles:
- Always keep garage doors closed.
- Invest in a hardened-steel U-lock.
- Don’t leave bicycles outside for days, or nights, on end - thieves may be watching and may target “unused” bicycles.
- Consider installing motion sensor lights or alarms on your property.
- Take a photo of your bike and record the serial number; this will aid in recovery should your bike be stolen.
The Fairfax County Police Department suggests residents register their bikes online at the National Bike Registry.
Should your bicycle be stolen, county residents can report it online here.