Theft Prevention

Bicycle Theft Prevention

Each year, hundreds of bicycles are stolen on campus and in the city of Davis. Most thefts can be prevented by properly securing the bicycle with an adequate lock to an approved, fixed object. Always lock your bike and lock it to a bike rack or bike pod! The majority of stolen bicycles have been left unlocked, locked only to themselves, or secured with a lock too weak relative to the value of the bike. U-locks are recommended, but a knowledgeable thief can easily defeat even these. A 6-foot cable or chain (the thicker the better) used with a U-lock allows you to lock to any rack or pod available and secure your wheels as well. Be aware that any cable is easily cut. Don't entrust your good bicycle to a cable alone. A less expensive bicycle is usually at lower risk of theft, but you should not compromise safety, reliability or efficiency when choosing a bike.

Theft Prevention Tips

  • Always lock your bike, even if you're leaving it for "just a minute".
  • Whenever possible, always lock your bike to a fixed, but legal, device such as a bike rack or pod.
  • Lock your bike in a highly visible, well-lighted location.
  • U-shaped high security locks are among the most theft-resistant locks available. Be aware, however, that they are easily defeated by knowledgeable thieves.
  • Quick-release wheels and seats can be secured with a cable, chain, or other security devices available at bike shops.
  • Use a less valuable or older bike for running errands and commuting in Davis.
  • The best advice is saved for last: Thieves' favorite targets are expensive, high-quality mountain bikes. This is so obvious, yet too many Davis cyclists persist in riding such "thief-magnets" for daily commuting in a town where distances are short, terrain is flat, and a high-dollar, 27-speed, all-terrain bike is really out of place. Even if theft weren't an issue, why put that daily wear and tear on such a bike? Get a "beater bike" (see Bicycle Auctions) for around-town use. Sure, it could also get stolen, but consider the comparative loss.

If, in spite of all these precautions, your bike is stolen, be sure to report it to the police. Call (530) 752-1230 to report thefts on campus, and (530) 747-5400 if your bike is missing within city limits. Bicycle thefts that occur in the city can also be reported online at To license your bike, bring it by the Transportation Services office Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. For additional bike theft prevention tips, call (530) 752-2453.