Q I was wondering if you'd like to include the piece below in your column as a guest perspective. There has been a lot of discussion about bike theft recently, and it seems like a good moment to remind the public about ways to keep their bikes safe. Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you. Best,

Amelia Conlen, director of People Power of Santa Cruz County

A You got it, Amelia. Here it is:

"SCPD cracks down on bike thieves, but they can't do it alone."

Bike theft is on the rise, as too many local residents unfortunately know. According to the Santa Cruz Police Department, there were 396 reported bike thefts in the city of Santa Cruz in 2011, up from 213 in 2010 and 177 in 2009. Increasing thefts have made this issue a growing concern for the SCPD and community groups, leading to a string of five arrests of bike theft suspects (recently).

Community members and the SCPD are to be congratulated for their vigilance in reporting suspects and responding quickly. If you see a theft take place, call police immediately with as much description of the suspect as possible.

The first step to discouraging thieves is a properly locked bike. Follow these steps to help keep your bike safe:


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  • Lock your bike every time you leave it, even if you're gone for only a short time.

  • High-quality locks, such as Kryptonite, are worth the money. Don't use cable locks alone, as they are easily cut. In high-theft areas, use a U-lock to secure the frame and front wheel and a cable lock to secure your back wheel.

  • Make sure your lock is secured to the bike frame -- not just to the fork or seat post -- and to an immovable object that is anchored to the ground. Don't lock to objects that can be easily cut, broken or otherwise removed.

  • If possible, don't commute on high-end bikes unless you have secure parking facilities available.

  • Secure all removable components when you leave your bike.

  • Don't leave bikes unsecured in your yard, and lock bikes even when they're in the garage.

  • Buy your locks at a local shop. Employees can give detailed advice on locking methods and the best and worst places to lock up your bike.

    Don't be a statistic. These extra precautions can help ensure that your bike is always waiting for you right where you left it.

    Street Smarts appears Mondays and Thursdays. New topics are posted weekdays on the blog, at www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/streetsmarts. Follow it also on Twitter and Facebook. Submit questions to those aforementioned social media sites or to streetsmarts@santacruzsentinel.com. Make sure to include your name, city of residence and a phone number where you can be reached.