LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - As the weather gets warmer, bike thefts become a bigger concern in our area.
Police say more than 400 bikes were stolen in La Crosse last year and only 70 of those bikes were recovered.
It's a growing issue our police department deals with each year. However local bike shop owners and police say there are several ways to avoid being a victim of bike theft.
"We're looking at crimes of opportunity and a lot of the times the bikes that we're seeing stolen are bikes that are left completely unsecured in potentially obscure areas," said Sergeant Tom Walsh with the La Crosse Police Department.
Walsh says it's a growing trend. Hundreds of bikes get stolen each year in La Crosse.
But he says there are a number ways to prevent your bike from getting stolen.
"Get the bike registered, it's a free service provided by the La Crosse Police Department, we just ned the make the model, the serial number and the color of the bike and we can get that bike back to you just based on that free registration that we offer."
Bike shop owners say another key to protecting your bike is getting the proper lock on it.
"You really need to go to what we call a U shaped lock, the U locks will definitely be the toughest locks to either pick, or to attempt to cut through or to break, most often the better quality U locks which you'll find in all of your local bike shops are going to also offer you a replacement guarantee," said Emily Vance, owner of River Trail Cycles.
Vance says it's especially important to keep the proper lock on your bike when it's parked on the busier areas of the city.
"We really stress the importance when your bike is being left for hours on end, could be all day could be an overnight type situation, you really want to upgrade to the U shaped style of lock to give your best security."
Officers say colleges, grade-schools and the downtown area is where they generally notice more bike thefts.
Last year more than 900 bikes were registered which officers say is a big increase from two years ago.
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