Increased bike thefts and keeping your bike safe

To: UCSC Campus Community

From: Kevin Domby, Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police

To: Campus Community

From: Kevin Domby, Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police


With the start of the academic year, we are seeing a growing number of bike thefts on campus. Many of the targeted bikes are high-end and eBikes. 

Below you will find suggestions and information on simple steps you can take to deter theft and what to do if your bike is stolen. 


  • Take photos of or write down the serial number of your bike. This will help with tracking down the bike if stolen and proving ownership when found. 
  • Take photos of your bike to document the current condition and accessories on your bike.
  • Add a GPS bike tracking device, such as Air Tag, to your bike.
  • If you are riding an eBike and can remove the battery, take it with you when you park your bike. 
  • Find a well-lit area with a lot of foot traffic and where there are other bikes to park your bike. 
  • Read all signs in the area before locking your bike. 
  • Always lock your bike through the frame and wheel (rear is best). 
  • Lock your bike using a high-quality U-lock.  A visual guide for bike locking methods is available as a PDF.
  • Lock your bike to a permanent bike rack or a fixed object.
  • Double check your lock before leaving your bike to be sure you have secured it properly. 


  • Leave your bike unlocked, and when possible do not leave it unattended. 
  • Lock your bike to itself by locking the front wheel to the frame. A bike ‘locked’ like this can be easily lifted and carried away.
  • Lock your bike to items that can be easily cut or that can be lifted once you’ve locked it. 
  • Lock your bike to anything illegal, such as stairway handrails.

Register your bike

Bikes are less likely to be stolen if they are registered because the bike license sticker indicates the serial number has been entered into a national computer database. All bikes operated on the UC Santa Cruz campus and in the City of Santa Cruz must be registered with a current California bicycle license. 

It’s easy and free to register your bike. Use the Santa Cruz Police Department Online Bike License Registration System.

Report stolen bikes

If your bike is stolen, the UCSC Police Department recommends reporting the theft as soon as possible. If it was stolen on university property, report it to the UCSC Police Department immediately by calling (831) 459-2232. Officers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

If your bike was stolen in Santa Cruz City, report it to the Santa Cruz Police Department by calling (831) 471-1131.

See something, say something

If you happen to witness a bike theft, either by force or stealth, dial 911 immediately and inform the dispatcher where you are and what is happening. Try to remember as much as you can about the suspect for police reports. Reporting a theft helps give law enforcement, public officials, and property owners the most accurate picture of where thefts occur in our community. This will aid in prevention and enforcement efforts.

You can find more information on biking and bike safety on the
TAPs UCSC Bike Program information page