Q: My friend had his bicycle taken. How do I prevent my bicycle from being stolen?

A: First and foremost, be sure to get it registered/licensed so if your bicycle is taken, the information regarding your bicycle is available to the police department so officers can better identify and return it to you, should it be located. The state bicycle license is $3 and is good for three years. You can obtain one by going to the city of Santa Monica permit office at City Hall or get the information via the following Web link: www01.smgov.net/finance/licenses/bikelic.htm

Second, get a quality lock to secure your bicycle. Too many times we have taken stolen bicycle reports to find out the lock being used was of poor quality and/or an easy material to break. Small chains and “cable” type locks are easy to cut and are usually the target of thieves. Although we cannot guarantee them, we recommend a better high quality lock such as the “U-type” lock. This type of lock should be secured around your bicycle, a tire and the rack you are securing it to.

Third, if you see anyone acting suspicious in and around the area where bicycles are kept, please call our dispatch at (310) 458-8491 with a description of the suspicious person, (clothing, appearance, hair, height, weight, etc.) and what they are doing that caused you to notice their behavior.

There is no way to guarantee that a bicycle will not be stolen, however, these tactics will help lessen the possibility of it happening to you.

Q: Should I give money to the homeless I see panhandling along Third Street and other areas of the city?

A: We know that many people want to help the homeless and think that they are doing so by giving them money. However, giving money to panhandlers, although well meaning, is really only a temporary response to the very real needs of homeless people and likely does not help someone to get off the streets. In fact, handouts may allow a person to experience one more day on the street rather than accessing the service that will help the individual rebuild their life. The Santa Monica Police Department finds that donations to non-profit organizations for the homeless are put to better use than giving money directly to the individual, which may be used to purchase items, such as alcohol, cigarettes and sometimes even narcotics. With that in mind, we encourage residents and visitors to give responsibly and effectively.

If you wish to donate, the city of Santa Monica and its partner non-profit service providers ask that donations be made to a local service organization. Interested parties can visit www.westsideshelter.org to learn more about homelessness, how to donate, and volunteer opportunities.

Crime Maps

Want to find out when and where recent crimes have occurred? It’s easy. Go to www.santamonicapd.org and check out our new Crime View community mapping system. The Santa Monica Police Department crime mapping system provides public access to crime data in the city of Santa Monica. The data is available for crimes that have been reported within the last 90 days, and data in this system may be searched by crime type within proximity to an address, intersection or landmark. Also, summary reports of the data and/or maps may be printed. The only exception is sex-related crimes, which are not included in this database. Due to the unique and sensitive issues surrounding sex-related crimes, the SMPD does not provide information about those crimes through this system. If you want to obtain information about sex-related crimes, please contact the Criminal Investigations Division at (310) 458-8451.

If you have police related questions or concerns, we’d like to hear them. Send your questions or comments to NRO@smgov.net and you may see your question in our weekly column accompanied by valuable feedback for the rest of the community. While not all questions will appear in the column, all questions submitted will be answered by a department representative. Also, please note that we will supply as much information as possible without jeopardizing any legal proceedings or investigations. Remember, if you have a question, chances are, another reader may be wondering the same thing. So don’t hesitate to ask!

Neighborhood Resource Officer Jeff Glaser (Beat 3: Downtown, including the Third Street Promenade) prepared this column. He can be reached at (424) 200-0683 or via e-mail at jeffrey.glaser@smgov.net.

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