EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Coming off one of the biggest years for bike theft in Eugene, the Eugene Police Department is highlighting the ways cyclists can avoid becoming the next victim.
As August winds down and students begin to return to the Eugene-Springfield area over the next month, Eugene Police says now is typically a time where the area sees a spike in bike theft.
In 2011, EPD says 842 bikes were reported stolen across the entire city, including the UO. On just the UO campus, 142 bikes were stolen last year.
2011's citywide bike theft numbers are well over 2010's numbers. In 2010, 566 bikes were reported stolen citywide.
The problem appears to be growing, but EPD says there are some steps you can take to protect your property.
Sergeant Lisa Barrong is a crime prevention specialist with Eugene Police Department. Barrong says the best kind of lock you can buy for your bike is a u-lock.
"This is going to have a little bit of a plastic casing, but on the inside is going to be a metal that's going to be extremely difficult to cut without taking a lot of time and noise and being very noticeable,” says Sergeant Barrong.
Barrong says the brand isn't as important as what the lock is made of.
"What you're looking for is any u-lock with a metal core,” says Barrong.
Another tip: locking with a cable carries a huge risk.
"This could be cut very easily, very quickly with a tool that's small enough to fit in someone's backpack and that's usually where we find the criminals are hiding those tools,” says Barrong.
With bolt cutters, Barrong says cutting through a cable lock is much like cutting through string with scissors.
"Someone could be standing very close to me and not even realize that I'd cut the lock,” says Barrong.
Third, large chain locks still carry some risk.
While inspecting a Kryptonite brand chain, Barrong says, "It is a better quality one as far as more difficult to cut through. They've gone with a circular lock instead of the old fashioned bolt lock, that's a good step. This is a little bit better metal but still not as secure as the u-locks.”
Finally, one of the most important steps is registering your property. The University of Oregon and Eugene Police both have their own registry lists.
EPD says if your bike is stolen, it could very well be recovered. However, dozens of bikes are recovered each year that EPD cannot return since there's no contact information or proof of ownership.
"We end up having to take them to auction,” says Barrong.
While it takes some time and effort, investing in crime prevention measures could save you a headache and some money in the long run.
"We would rather someone prevent it from happening in the first place, because even if we can get your property back you're still going to be victimized,” says Barrong.
You can register your bike online with the Eugene Police Department for free. EPD will send the stickers to your home as well. For more information, click the following link: http://eugene-or.gov/index.aspx?NID=951.