The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Marina del Rey Station is notifying area bicycle owners of a program to register their bikes to better identify them in the event of a theft.

Bike thefts in the South Bay area, Marina del Rey in particular, have been a significant problem this year, with the Santa Monica Police Department reporting about 1,500 bicycles stolen between Jan. 1 and March 31, a Sheriff’s spokesman said.

One of the biggest problems with bicycle thefts is that the majority of bicycle owners do not have their serial numbers available for law enforcement when they become victims of bicycle theft, the spokesman said. Police departments all over the state have property rooms filled with bicycles that are never reunited with their rightful owners, he noted.

This is where the National Bike Registry comes into play, according to the Sheriff’s Department. For a $10 registration fee, bicycle owners can register their bike for 10 years with the registry. The bicycle will be entered into a Web based system and the serial number on the bike is cross-referenced with an assigned NBR number. In the event a bicycle is stolen, the owner will have the serial number available to provide police so it can be entered into the Automated Bicycle System, which can be accessed by police officers throughout the state. The National Bike Registry also maintains a database that can be accessed by police to get bikes back to their rightful owners.

The National Bike Registry registration forms will be available at most of the apartment complex business offices and dock master’s offices in the Marina. Bike owners can also register online at www.nationalbikeregistry.com/.

Anyone who has difficulty with the registration process or locating the serial number on their bike, can contact Sheriff’s Det. Tim Hazlewood, at (310) 482-6023 or TLHazlew@lasd.org/.

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