"Crime analysts report an approximate 36-percent increase in the number of stolen bicycles when comparing similar time periods over the prior year," the department said.
According to the bulletin, from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012 there were roughly 265 bicycle thefts. During the same time period from 2012 to 2013, there were 361.
"Many of the bikes are taken when residents leave their garage doors open. Thieves simply seize the opportunity, take the bikes, and walk away," county police said.
The department said there are currently hundreds of stolen, unclaimed and found bicycles being stored in county facilities, as shown in the photos that accompany this article.
County crime prevention officers suggest bicycle owners take the following precautions to help prevent theft of their bicycles:
- Always keep garage doors closed.
- 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.
City of Fairfax Police public information officer Sgt. Kyle Penman said the department has not noticed a significant spike in recent bicycle thefts in the city recently, though a slight increase is often common in summer months.
"More bikes are being used [in the summer months] and most are left by pools, et cetera, unsecured," he said.
Both the City of Fairfax and Fairfax County police departments suggest residents register their bikes online at the National Bike Registry.
Should your bicycle be stolen, county residents can report it online here.
Fairfax City residents can call the non-emergency line for the City of Fairfax Police Department to report a theft at 703-385-7924.
Cyclists - what do you do to ward off bike thieves? Share your tips in the comments.