The Bozeman Police Department is warning the public of an increase in bike thefts in Bozeman. It seems that we all know someone who has had their bike stolen in Bozeman, and we want to help stop this trend. Here are our tips for preventing your bike from being next.

1. Lock bikes up in lit areas

Always look for the most lit and public bike rack you can find. Even if the bike rack is a little far from your destination, it's better to have it in a safe location than a convenient location.

2. Secure bikes at home

Avoid using community bike racks at condo complexes. If you live in the condos, make room for your bike in your apartment. If you are visiting a friend, ask if you can bring your bike inside.

3. Register your bike with the Bozeman Police Department

Registering your bike's serial number will ensure that if your bike is stolen and recovered, the police will be able to contact you and reunite you with your bike.You can register your bike at the Bozeman Police Department Downtown office at Rouse and Main.

4. Take photos of your bike

In addition to registering your bike, take photos of your bike so that if tragedy strikes you can post the photos on social media to drive a bike hunt. It helped this guy find his stolen bike in Bozeman.

5. Invest in a quality lock

Gizmodo tested 4 locks with very differing results. While all locks looked similar and were of the U variety, their security and usability was very different. The top lock was the OnGuard Pitbull STD.

6. Avoid leaving bikes locked up overnight

I see a lot of bikes in downtown Bozeman that seem to be there for days on end. I'm not a bike thief but if I was, I would feel safe tampering with these bikes knowing that the owner isn't anywhere around.

If your bike is stolen

1. Look for nearby cameras and contact business owners nearby for a look at the footage.

2. File a police report with the Bozeman Police Department

3. Post on Craigslist a photo of your bike in the stolen category

4. File a claim with your insurance agency

5. Check the local pawn shops and keep an eye on bike racks around town

On a side note, the Bozeman Police Department would like to remind everyone that using hand held mobile devices will earn you a $100 fine while driving or RIDING YOUR BIKE.