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Gainesville Police now offers electronic bicycle registration.

“Bike theft and shoplifting drive our numbers way up,” said GPD Officer Ernest Graham. “It’s a big problem in this city. It happens more than we like to talk about because there are so many issues.”

Theft is the No. 1 crime problem at UF, and bicycles are the main target, according to the University Police website.

Though bicycle thievery is common at UF, Graham said it is probably more common for students who live off campus. A majority of the thievery happens in residents’ own backyards, he said.

Monica Barreneche, a 20-year-old UF finance junior, was a victim of bike thievery off campus. She said she was home during the theft.

One of the biggest problems with bicycle thievery is victims typically do not know their bike’s serial number, Graham said. He also attributes the thievery to students purchasing inexpensive locks and locking their bikes incorrectly.

Residents can register by visiting the police department’s website at gainesvillepd.org. People who register will need to know information like their bike’s serial number.

“I was surprised at how many people actually did the online registry,” Graham said.

The UPD site suggests a few precautions people should take in avoiding bicycle thievery: secure a quality, hardened-steel U-type lock through the wheel, frame and rack; park and lock bikes in well-lighted areas; and report theft immediately.

A version of this story ran on page 3 on 11/1/2013 under the headline "Online bike registration added."

This story has been updated to reflect a correction. Gainesville Police, not University Police as originally reported, offers online registration. The officer quoted is not Graham Drnest of UPD, it is Ernest Graham of GPD. The URL has been changed as well.

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