Since January, bike thieves have claimed 70 bikes inside Gulfport city limits, an increase of 20 over the same time frame last year.
Lieutenant Josh Stone has an easy solution: Lock your bike.
“The biggest thing people can do is lock their bikes,” Stone says. “It’s such an easy crime to commit. It’s that old adage, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”
Registering a bike with the Gulfport Police will help police return the bike to its rightful owner should it get stolen, Stone adds.
Saturday, May 17, at the Gulfport Neighbors’ quarterly Junk in the Trunk or on a Truck (JITT) event at the Gulfport 49th Street Neighborhood Center, the Gulfport Police registered 12 bikes.
When the police find an abandoned bicycle, they hold it for three months. If they haven’t located the owner at the end of three months, the police either donate it to charity or auction it to the highest bidder at GovDeals.com. Last year the bulk of unclaimed bikes went to Boy Scouts and the American Legion, Stone says.
The Gulfport Police register a bike from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. While the police registered bikes for free at the JITT event, they do charge a quarter at the police station.
In addition to the free bike registrations, police gave away 29 bike helmets for kids and adults. The Suncoast Epilepsy Association sent a representative to help properly fit people with bike helmets. Police officers Stone, Zack Mills and the Gulfport Chief of Police, Rob Vincent were all on hand for “Coffee With a Cop.” Little Tommies Tiki provided cinnamon rolls; McDonald’s provided coffee.