TIPS: Bike Theft Prevention

As the founder of our neighborhood’s weekly Arts District Bike-Walk Social Club (#RADDsocial), you KNOW that I just love bikes. In fact, so much that I own a few, which I often loan out, and have even given away a couple so that others can join in the two-wheeled fun! Sadly, as the popularity of cycling increases everywhere, so do incidents of bike theft. Since I’ve noticed that there are several new bike owners out there, as well as many who don’t realize the increase in this crime, I wanted to share some basic information on how best to lock your bike to avoid theft, and if it’s stolen, how to document information about it in advance.


  1. Use quality latches, such as U-locks, chains and heavy padlocks.
  2. Avoid using ONLY cable locks (if used, combine with other quality latches).
  3. When outdoors, use solid fixtures to lock your bike such as the following (never leave an unsecured or weakly secured bicycle alone for any length of time since thieves are capable of stealing them in just minutes, sometimes seconds):
    • Bicycle racks
    • Signs
    • Light posts
    • Fence posts
    • Parking meters
    • Gas mains
    • Mature trees
  4. Tighten the lock as much as possible to your bike or the fixture so thieves have no room to pry them open using bolt cutters or cut through.
  5. Clasp the frame, front wheel, AND rear wheel of your bike when locking it (see illustration below).
  6. Never rely on bolts or screws to hold anything down as wrenches and screwdrivers are common tools.
  7. When not in use, store your bike indoors.

How to Lock Your Bike LAPD


In case your bike is stolen and later recovered, the following preventive actions are recommended:

  1. Take photos of your bike.
  2. Record the serial number, make, model and color of your bike (type into your phone so you can quickly report a loss).
  3. Write or etch your name somewhere on the bike frame.
  4. Register your bike (in Downtown Los Angeles, you can download the LAPD Bike Registration Card below and deliver a completed copy to the agency’s Central Division at 251 E. 6th St., Los Angeles 90014 – keep an original at home and don’t forget to also record the information on your phone!).


LAPD Tip Sheet on Bike Theft Prevention
LAPD Central Division Bike Registration Card
NBC4 Undercover Bike Investigation

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