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Police: If You Have a Sprocket, Lock It: Bike Thefts Up in McLean

Bike thefts county-wide are up approximately 36 percent year over year.

Fairfax County police have hundreds of unclaimed, recovered bicycles in storage. Photo courtesy Fairfax County Police Department
Fairfax County police have hundreds of unclaimed, recovered bicycles in storage. Photo courtesy Fairfax County Police Department
By Jennifer van der Kleut 

Bike thefts have spiked in McLean and across Fairfax County, according to an online bulletin police issued.

"Crime analysts report an approximate 36-percent increase in the number of stolen bicycles when comparing similar time periods over the prior year," according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

From Sept. 1, 2011, to Aug. 31, 2012, about 265 bicycle thefts were reported. During the same time period from 2012 to 2013, there were 361.

The McLean area alone has seen 86 bike thefts so far this year, according to police.

"Many of the bikes are taken when residents leave their garage doors open. Thieves simply seize the opportunity, take the bikes, and walk away," the police bulletin states.

Police have hundreds of recovered, unclaimed bicycles being stored in county facilities.

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.
Authorities suggest residents register their bikes online at the National Bike Registry.

Should your bicycle be stolen, report it online here, or call the McLean District Police Station at 703-556-7750.

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