Region - Police are concerned at the recent spike in bike thefts in the Ararat and Stawell areas, with thefts increasing by 26.9 percent already this year.
Northern Grampians Police Service Area youth resource officer Senior Constable Danielle Richardson has issued a warning to people to secure their bikes or risk losing them.
"Most of the bike thefts we had reported to us involved bikes that were not locked to a fixed object," S/C Richardson said.
"Parents can spend a lot of money on bikes for their children at Christmas time, your child's bike is worth securing at night rather than being left in the front yard of homes."
S/C Richardson said there have been a number of bicycle thefts in Ararat and Stawell already this year, with many of the thefts unsolved.
The spike represents a 26.9 per cent increase in bike thefts in this area for 2014 so far.
S/C Richardson said the majority of bikes are stolen from front yards of homes in the evenings, overnight on weeknights, when young people leave them out in front yards or visible in back yards.
Parents are urged to remind their children to always lock their bike to a secure object or bike rack, even if it is at school or in the shopping centre.
Other ways to secure your bike include:
Lock as much of your bike as you can, a cable lock can usually go around your bike frame and back wheel and a solid object and you can remove your front wheel to lock that too.
Do not lock your bike to something that can easily be cut such as a wire fence or a tree branch.
If you are out in public, lock your bike where it can be seen - to help deter thieves.
Be careful not to block ramps or footpaths when you are locking your bike to an object.
Always put your bikes away at night and never leave them lying around in your front yard.
S/C Richardson said parents can help by ensuring their children have a bike lock or chain, recording frame numbers of bikes and consider having owners details engraved on the bike in a discreet location.
Frame numbers are usually stamped underneath the lower bracket on bikes.
If your bike gets stolen, report it to your local police. You can either ring the police or go in person to the station and speak to them.
Often police get bicycles handed in and cannot find an owner as there was not a theft report lodged by the victim or an identifying mark (engraving) on the bike to tell the police who the owner is.
S/C Richardon also said keeping a colour photograph of the bike is a good idea so that if it is report as stolen, owners can provide an accurate description. Adding stickers, paint or reflective tape can also personalise a bike for quick identification, and if the bike is expensive it is a good idea to insure it.
S/C Richardson also had some advice for children.
"If you hear of someone stealing bikes or know of someone that is stealing bikes, you can speak to your school teachers or the police confidentially," she said.
"YANG Bluelight is planning a bicycle safety and security information day for primary aged school children soon."