In Billings, Montana, 230 bicycles were stolen in 2016. This year so far, about 180 bikes have been reported stolen.
Administrative Lieutenant Neil Lawrence said there is no particular season in which they see the highest amount of stolen bikes. He said they get reports of bikes stolen all year round.
Lawrence said that at times, people will report their serial number that was on the bike, but that sometimes will not work to identify the bike if it ever gets recovered. He said sometimes thieves will remove that serial number so the bike can never be identified. He also said some thieves discard the bike after it gets used for a time.
Lawrence said if you’re bike ever gets stolen and if you ever want to make sure your bike is recovered, here’s what you should do.
“Put another identifying mark on it, maybe their initials, a certain word or something, and put it in an area that is going to be seen,” Lawrence said. “Some identifying characteristic that you only know is there.”
Lt. Lawrence said if your bike is ever stolen and you know where it is and who stole it, do not go and try to get the bike yourself. He said you should notify the police right away and they’ll get it for you.
Caden Kosovich has been working at The Spoke Shop in Billings for four years. He said he hears stories about stolen bikes from callers and customers at least once a day.
Kosovich said he gets calls from people asking for proof of purchase history so they can use that information for a police report. He said since he’s been working there, he’s noticed what he believes is a growing trend of bike theft. He also said to prevent bike theft, do not use a cable lock because those can be cut very easily.
Kosovich recommends a classic U-lock which is impenetrable and includes a warranty. He also talks about other ways to protect your bike.
“We recommend that you register your bike,” Kosovich said. “I believe there is a few different programs where you can register your bicycle up with police departments. The national registry is a great way to keep track of your bike. Technology is always changing as well. There is now tracking devices on certain pedals that you can track your bike from your phone. I even saw a new device that sets off a loud alarm when someone’s mishandling your bike.”
Kosovich said be smart where you lock up your bike. He said to realize how you’re locking up your bike and invest in good locks because that will save you from theft.