WASHINGTON - Fairfax County police are warning bike owners to be extra vigilant.
The number of bike thefts in the county is up by 36 percent.
Between Sept. 1, 2011 and Aug. 31, 2012 there were about 265 bike thefts.
During the same time period from 2012 to 2013, there were 361 bike thefts.
One of the hardest hit areas has been McLean, where 86 bikes have been stolen.
Police say in a news release that many of the bikes were taken after residents left their garage doors open.
Police offer the following tips to protect your bike:
- Close garage doors.
- 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.
- Consider registering your bicycle on the National Bike Registry.
- Report the stolen item online.
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