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About 1,000 bikes stolen or missing each year in Tucson, according to Tucson Police

Posted at 2:55 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-19 01:22:59-04

Tucson received an honor for being one of America's best places for bikes. 

The city ranked fifth overall on a number of areas including ridership, safety, and growth rate of bike infrastructure.

With more bikes on the road, thieves will be on the prowl. 

The University of Arizona Police says that makes the campus a hot spot for bike thefts.

"One of our biggest property crimes we have it is estimated 250 happen every year," said Officer Rene Hernandez.

He says since most students depend on their bikes, locking them up at multiple racks around campus is key and those rack locations are a target for bike thieves.

"Take this tire off of this bike and take that tire off of that bike and ride away with a brand new bike," he said. 

Not only are public places targets, but multiple bike stores say they've been hit. 

Assistant manager Tim Black at Broadway Bicycles on the east side says it has happened a handful of times. 

Black says at one point thieves broke into the store through ceiling and cooling vents. More recently, front windows have been smashed or large groups would come in to distract staff. 

"This was our first safety precaution we did many years ago was putting these metal bars in the windows now on that point it cut back on a lot," Black said. 

On the north side at Tucson Endurance Performance someone broke into the front store windows and stole a bike while the business was closed.

But Dane Higgins, the owner of the shop, says the most common way thieves steal bikes is on a test ride. 

"They will come in and talk up salesperson and try to gain their confidence and then try and go on a test drive without an ID or any kind of credit card or security deposit and then just not come back," said Higgins. "To lose your life over a bike you know to be locked up be locked up that long for the little bit of money you are going to get from a bike is just crazy people would go to that extent."

Tucson Police's evidence superintendent Nancy Mckay-Hills collects stolen and lost bikes.

"We take in approximately 900 to 950 bikes per year," she said. 

McKay-Hills says it's difficult to find owners because the bikes don't have serial numbers.

So what can you do to be proactive?

At the U of A, bikes can be registered with the college's department of transportation. You'll receive a bike sticker with a specific serial number that will give the police the owner's name, address and phone number. 

Bike shop owners say the best bike lock is a "u" lock to secure the front tire and body of the bike.

Mckay-Hills recommends riders register their bike on Foundrop with the bike's photos and serial number so if your bike is found TPD can directly contact you.