Register your bicycle before thefts increase during warmer weather

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DENVER -- Every year when the weather gets warm, bicycle thefts spike. So this year, the Denver Police Department is launching a campaign to try to help cut down on the crime.

At Guerrilla Gravity Bikes in Denver, Matt Giaraffa and his team build mountain bikes from scratch. They are very high quality and don’t come cheap. That’s why Giaraffa was devastated when his personal bike was stolen from his shop in the fall.

“New it would have been over $4,000,” he said. “Someone just kind of slipped in quietly. My bike was sitting there. He just kind of took it and left.”

Giaraffa has been an avid cyclist for a decade and said he didn’t think he could become a victim of bike theft. He said it was a wake-up call.

“This thing is what I go out and ride all the mountains on. It’s what I do for fun and when it was gone, I was heartbroken,” he said.

Luckily, with the help of Denver police, he got his bicycle back. Hundreds of other Denver cyclists aren’t so lucky. Every year in April, Denver police say they see a spike in bicycle thefts, especially in the Riverfront Park area.

Police are trying to educate riders about bicycle safety before criminals hit the streets for their annual warm-weather crime spree.

An electronic sign near 20th Street and Chestnut Place encourages cyclists to always lock up their bikes and to register them for free at Denver's theft and fraud prevention website. The city will track the serial number in the event a bike is stolen.

Although locks can easily be cut by thieves, the added protection can make a difference.

“The longer it takes for a thief to steal it, the less likely it is to happen,” Giaraffa said.

Some apartment complexes in the Riverfront Park neighborhood have removed their outdoor bicycle storage facilities in favor of more secure indoor storage. Police are also keeping a close eye on bike racks and leaving bait bikes to catch thieves.

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