University of Illinois Police cracking down on bike thieves

Bike shop managers in Urbana say now is a prime time for bike thefts. (WCCU)

Bike shop managers in Urbana say now is a prime time for bike thefts.

"The highest points and times of the year are right at the very beginning of the year when people are still figuring out how to secure their bikes or not thinking properly about securing their bikes,” Baker’s Bikes mechanic Jeremy Wertz said. “And also during the breaks."

University of Illinois Police hope to change that this year. They are strategically placing bikes around campus and monitoring them through surveillance cameras. The minute someone tries to take off with one, police are on their way.

"We're trying to apprehend the offenders to try to prevent any future thefts from those people,” University of Illinois Police Officer Grant Briggs said. “But to also kind of get the word out and try to deter possible offenders as well."

The program started about three weeks ago and so far officers have made four arrests.

To minimize your risk of becoming a target there are steps you should take.

"Utilizing a very high quality bicycle lock,” Officer Griggs said, “We usually recommend a U Lock. Securing your bicycle to an actual bicycle rack instead of things like signs or rails. Things that are easily circumvented."

Bike shop managers have actually had people try to resell stolen bikes that were originally purchased at their store. That's why they swear by registering your bike.

"You register it with the police and if it does get picked up by the police or found you can go in with your serial number and they can give you your bike if you have the correct information,” Baker’s Bike manager Erica Baker said.

Experts say the best way to lock up your bike is to place your lock around the frame of the bike and around a tire before securing it to the rack.

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