Bicycle thefts are at an all-time high in Arlington County, police announced Friday.
And it's not just more bikes being taken, but more expensive bikes.
In July, 67 bicycles were reported stolen — the highest number of incidents reported in a single month in the past three years by 21 cases.
Between June 1 and Aug. 5, a total of 126 bicycles were reported stolen — a combined loss of $98,127, according to a new graphic police are distributing.
Most bikes are stolen between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Most thefts occur on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and Clarendon is the No. 1 area where bikes are likely to be stolen, according to police.
Trek is the most common brand of bike stolen.
A number of factors have contributed to the rise in bike thefts.
Arlington has worked to become more bicycle-friendly — and because of that, more people are riding bikes and therefore more opportunities to steal bikes present themselves, police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told Patch.
With more people riding, the percentage of cyclists who don't properly secure their bikes has also increased, Sternbeck said. And sites like Craigslist make it easier to sell stolen bikes these days, he said. (Craigslist was founded in 1999.)
"There's more bikes sitting out in the open," Sternbeck said. "We are increasing surveillance efforts on our end, but it also takes the community's action to ultimately deter, if not eliminate, this trend."
That action, police say, includes:
- Registering your bike with the Arlington County Police Department. Doing so will give you a decal that may serve as a visible deterrent to theft, and it gives police your bike's information in case you become a victim.
- Take a photograph of your bike and record the serial number and any distinguishing features.
- Always use a U-lock. In the fall, police held a series of community meetings to talk about crime trends — and at every one, an auxiliary officer announced that she could cut through a chain lock in 30 seconds.
- Remove detachable items like lights and bags.
- If your bike is stolen, post the theft online in an attempt to locate it and file a police report.
Sternbeck would not elaborate on the increased efforts planned by law enforcement, saying the department didn't want to share that information.
Police are asking anyone who sees suspicious behavior around bike racks to call the department's non-emergency number: 703-558-2222.
Arlington police recently arrested six people in connection to bike thefts around the county, according to a news release.
One of them, 42-year-old Michael Cullen, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty this week to nine felony counts related to bicycle thefts, the release states.