Q: I want to know how I can prevent my bicycle from being stolen and what the police are doing to stop bicycle thieves.

A: As a bicycle rider myself, I take this subject very seriously and I can assure you that the Santa Monica Police Department is doing what they can via enforcement and education in trying to prevent this type of crime.

Bicycle thefts are not only a Santa Monica issue, but an issue across the county, state and the U.S. To combat this crime, the SMPD has been continually conducting extra enforcement with both uniformed and undercover officers. More specifically, we have had successes in placing “Decoy” or “Bait” bicycles in high theft areas. This is basically done by having an undercover officer place a bicycle in a high traffic area, secure it and have it watched by other officers to see if someone attempts to cut the lock and steal the bicycle. In fact, this was done very recently and resulted in the arrest of a male suspect.

The police department can’t do it alone. The public also needs to ensure they are aware of their surroundings and to notify the police at (310) 458-8491 if they see any suspicious people or activities. Often times I hear people tell me they did not want to “bother” the police. Please do bother us if you see something out of the ordinary. Many bicycle thefts are happening during the day in crowded areas and we need your help. The decoy bicycle mentioned above was stolen within eyesight of several unsuspecting people.

Bicycle owners need to ensure they have the proper type of lock for their bicycle. Many times I see people ride up in very expensive bicycles, yet they secure it with an inexpensive or easily breakable lock. The suspect listed above was able to cut through a thick cable lock and ride off with the bicycle in literally 10 seconds. This same suspect admitted to looking for either unlocked, or bicycles secured with cable-type locks. He informed us he would not even try to attempt to steal a bicycle with a “U” type lock as they are too hard to break. Although we cannot guarantee your bicycle will not be stolen if secured with a “U” type lock, our experience is such that your odds of getting your bicycle stolen is greatly reduced compared to other types of locks.

Additionally, you should have a bicycle license to help you identify and eventually recover a bike if it is stolen. The cost is $3 and it is good for three years. In the event your bicycle is stolen, there will then be a way for us to cross check your bicycle if it is found. In addition, it makes you get the information we need in order to file a more complete report as it asks for the bike color, brand, size, serial number, etc. Bicycle licenses may be obtained in person at 1717 Fourth St., Suite 150 or you can click onto the following link for further information on how to obtain one: www01.smgov.net/finance/licenses/bikelic.htm.

Community Event

Are you prepared to provide food, water, medical aid and other supplies for yourself and your family in the event of an emergency? If emergency services such as fire and the police were unable to attend to your needs and the stores were out of food due to an event such as an earthquake or other natural disaster, would you be able to survive? If you said “No,” then please plan on attending a “One-Stop Prep Shop” on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Parking Lot at 1855 Main St.

This is a unique emergency preparedness event providing nearly everything you need in one location to be prepared for a disaster. Both local and survival specialty merchants will be on hand vending the necessary items you and your family will need in order to weather a natural or unnatural disaster.

The recent catastrophic events in Japan remind us of how important it is to be prepared for the unexpected. Parking is free and portions of the proceeds with be donated to the American Red Cross Japanese Relief Fund.

For more information and to see how you can pre-order your supplies, go to the Santa Monica Fire Department website; http://santamonicafire.org and click on the “I’ve Got 7” link.

This column was prepared by NRO Jeff Glaser (Beat 3: Downtown). He can be reached at (424) 200-0683 or jeffrey.glaser@smgov.net.