Theft Prevention

Never leave your bike unlocked — even if you’re leaving it for only a minute. A thief can grab your bike in seconds.  


Lock your bike to something that’s permanent and not easy for a thief to take. If a bicycle rack or corral is not available, be sure to lock it to a secure object. Chain link fences or trees are a bad idea. Using street signs can work, but don’t block the sidewalk with your bike — it could be reported and removed.

To avoid creating a hazard for the elderly and disabled, do not lock your bike to hand railings, especially those near stairs, wheelchair ramps, or transit islands. And even if you keep your bike in a garage, basement, or on a porch, lock it!Visibility

Park in open areas where many people pass by and your bicycle can be seen easily. Thieves usually don’t like an audience.

Serial Number on Bike Frame | May 20, 2013

Know Your Bike’s Serial Number

What’s the first thing to do when you get a new bike? Write down the serial number and keep it in a safe place. Look for the number on the underside of the bottom bracket shell where the cranks attach. Serial numbers are sometimes stamped on the head tube, seat tube, or on one of the frame’s rear dropouts, where the wheel is mounted. 

Give It Identifying Marks

Discourage thieves and increase your chances of recovering a stolen bicycle by engraving your name or driver’s license number on your bike frame. You can also put a card with your name and phone number inside the handlebar or seat tubes. This will help you prove it’s your bike if you find it at an auction, junk shop, or flea market. 


Some U-locks are stronger than others. Make sure you buy a strong hardened steel lock. If the manufacturer offers a warranty or insurance, register the lock and write down the lock’s serial number and when you bought it. One drawback to U-locks: you can’t lock up to thick objects such as street lights; for these, carry a thick cable. 

Padlocks & Chains

Look for anti-theft security chains: the thicker, the better. Chain links and lock shackles should be at least 3/8 of an inch thick. Look for locks and chains that are case-hardened—a process that makes them harder to cut while still resistant to shattering.  


For additional security, use a double-looped cable with your U-lock. Place the U-lock shackle around the rack, your bike frame and through your rear wheel. Loop a cable around your front wheel, bike frame and onto your U-lock shackle. Use a cable at least 3/8 of an inch thick with a lock as thick, or thicker.

Lock Your Bike Correctly

How to lock the whole bike

Lock the Whole Bike

You should put your chain, cable, or U-locks through your frame and both wheels—taking the front wheel off if you have a quick-release hub. Never lock through your wheel without locking the frame because thieves can remove your wheel and steal the rest of the bike. 

Cross Locking

A good way to foil thieves is to use more than one kind of lock. For example, put a U-lock through your frame and rear tire, and put a cable or chain through your frame and front tire. 

Make It Difficult to Break a Lock

Thieves may break a lock by putting it against a wall or sidewalk and smashing it with a hammer. If you use a padlock, try to put it where it’s not close to the ground or against a wall or another solid surface, leaving little or no slack in your cable or chain. When using a U-lock, leave little or no space in the lock’s middle to prevent prying. 

Secure Removable Items

When you leave your bike, remove any parts you can’t lock and a thief could steal easily: a quick-release seat, tool bag, cycle computer, or lights. If removing quick-release parts is a hassle, replace the fasteners with bolt-on or security hardware. 

Dealing with Theft

Report Your Stolen Bike

First, find your bike’s serial number if you have it. Then call your local police and tell them where your bike was stolen. Try to get a police report number that you can use for an insurance claim, and ask how the police will contact you if they find your bike. Call your local police to learn whether they auction off recovered, unclaimed property.

Recovering Your Bike

Sometimes you can find your bicycle at places like flea markets, pawn shops, auctions, or resale shops that might deal in stolen merchandise. But if you find your stolen bike among other property that someone’s selling, remember that they won’t just give it to you; you must prove it’s yours. Keep your serial number or use identifying marks as described above.

Punta Gorda Police Department Bike Registration Program

bicycle registrationThe Punta Gorda Police Department will register your bicycle (internally, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office will not have this information), record the serial number, and affix a sticker on the bicycle, generally in a place not immediately visible.  Should the bicycle ever come up lost or stolen they will  have all the information on file for an alert to officers.  Even if  the sticker is removed, they are able to check the serial number on the registration.  Bike registration can be done by any officer, so it is a 24-hour service at the police department.  For more information, contact Lieutenant Katie Heck (941) 639-4111 (main) (941) 575-5525 (office) .