5 tips to avoid bike theft

Be aware: Paying attention to your surroundings can help you avoid bad situations.

Don't make yourself vulnerable: Don't leave your bike or other property unattended.

Lock it up: Lock your bike to a rack using a high-quality U-lock to secure the frame and wheels.

Register it: You stand a better chance of getting any lost or stolen items returned.

Keep Records: Keep paperwork or jot down serial numbers so you stand a better chance of getting it back quickly, if stolen.

Source: CU Police spokesman Ryan Huff.

Thefts are common on college campuses across the country but after bike thefts on the University of Colorado's Boulder campus hit a record high last year, the campus is taking extra precautions to reduce crime.

With around 30,000 students on the Boulder campus, it's the perfect environment for thieves to pick and choose their loot among the thousands of bikes, laptops and electronic devices students bring with them.

Reported bike thefts on campus reached 326 in 2010, but in 2011 police efforts reduced the number of thefts down to 136 -- the lowest number in at least the last four years, said CU Police spokesman Ryan Huff.

Huff said the decrease is due to directed patrols and arrests made over the past two years -- 14 in 2010 and three this year. Other reported thefts remained a consistent concern on campus, especially for students carrying valuable items like computers, Huff said.

Park with care

More than 7,000 bikes are on campus every day, making the university an ideal place for bike thieves to start their search.

With laptops and other electronics becoming a concern as well, almost no student is exempt from possible thefts on campus.

Huff said paying more attention to the surroundings on campus can make a big difference in preventing thefts.

"Most thefts are crimes of opportunity," Huff said.

Huff said some thefts can be prevented through basic safety tips, like not leaving items unattended and using a good lock when parking a bike on campus.

Huff said making sure students don't leave their valuables unattended is key to keeping your stuff safe.

Huff recommends using a U-lock to protect your bike on campus.

Extra bike protection

Despite a significant decrease in bike theft at CU, university officials said there has been discussion of a possible indoor bike facility on campus in the future.

Cmdr. Robert Axmacher of the CU Police Department said the discussions are still in the early stages and no decisions have been made, including if -- or when -- the facility would be built.

"There are lots of possible prevention strategies and the facility is just one that's been talked about," Axmacher said.

Jena Cafiero, a spokeswoman for CU's Parking and Transportation Services, said there are currently no plans for the building.

Cafiero said a university policy requires all new campus construction to include a bike rack. It is possible the facility could be included with the construction of a new building on campus.

Track your numbers

Huff also suggests recording serial numbers for valuable items to help police during an investigation and in returning any recovered items to the owner.

"Register your bike at the bike station near the UMC," Huff said.

Huff said information in the campus database makes it easier to return items that are recovered and to track items even if they're taken out of state.

Laptops can also be registered in the CU Telecommunications Center or the Public Safety Building.

If you witness something suspicious or to report a theft contact CU Police at 303-492-6666.