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Milwaukee Bike Theft Reduction Initiative (MKEBTR)

The following information is provided to you by the Milwaukee Police Department to inform you of MPD's Bike Theft Reduction Initiative (MKEBTR).


Three Principles of Stopping Bike Theft

Protect Your Bike and Help Reduce Bike Theft in Milwaukee with These Simple Steps

  • 1. Lock Your Bike
  • 2. Report Lost/Stolen Bike to Police
  • 3. Register Your Bike

Properly Lock Your Bike: Upgrade your lock from a cable lock. U-locks, folding locks and hardened chains offer better protection. 

  • Cable locks should never be used as a primary means of locking a bike in a city. Cheaper and older U-locks can often be broken without any tools. Use a U-lock that costs at least $40. Chain and folding locks are also effective.
  • Aim to have the hardest bike to steal on the rack. We consider two U-locks, or a U-lock and one heavy duty cable, to be the minimum required in large cities to keep a bike secure.
  • Don't rely on foot traffic to keep your bike safe; years of reports have taught us that many thefts, particularly those involving cutting cable locks, occur under the cover of crowd activity or in front of bustling cafés or restaurants.
  • Don't rely on the presence of cameras to keep your bike secure. Security footage is rarely of much use once a bike is gone, and thieves know this.
  • Tug on whatever you're about to lock to make sure it can't be easily removed. Signposts in particular can be easily removed by unbolting them and some are already unattached.
  • Always lock to something metal and securely attached to the ground if possible.
  • Many bicycles are stolen from garages and storage rooms. Lock your bike securely to an immovable object even if in a "secure" place.

Always Report to Police When Your Bike is Lost of Stolen: Reporting Makes it Easier for Police to return your bike to you and identify problem areas and trends for theft. 

  • Proper reporting allows law enforcement to be made aware your bike is stolen and teletype it to other agencies.
  • Law enforcement need to have a theft report on file to seize your bike if they come across it.
  • Proper reporting helps law enforcement identify bike theft hot spots, trends, prolific offenders and scope of bike thefts so they can then make plans to interdict.

Register Your Bike with BikeIndex.org: Registering your bike with this partner non-profit makes it easier for police to identify, recover and return your bike to you. 

  • First and foremost, know your bike’s serial number, make, model and description (accessories, stickers, lights, etc)
    • Serial number usually located on underside of frame on bottom bracket
    • Take pictures of the bike from different angles, as well as the serial number
    • Take a picture of you with it
  • Register your bike with Bike Index
    • Submit your name, bike manufacturer, serial number, and component information to enter your bike.
    • Upload pictures of your bike
    • Bike index is a national registry that makes it easy for bike owners, citizens and law enforcement to verify in real time the status of a bike.
    • If your bike is stolen, create a stolen bike alert
  • If available, license your bike with your local municipality.

With What, Where, and How to Lock Your Bike

What to Lock Your Bike With - The Important Qualities of Various Bike Locks
There are three things to consider when you purchase your bike lock: How secure is it, how practical is it to use, and is it a good price? 

Important Qualities of Various Bike Locks

Bike Locks

Bike Locks VS. Bolt Cutters

Will your bike lock hold up against bolt cutters? The best way to protect your bike is to secure it.

Bike Locks VS Bolt Cutters 

Where to Lock Your Bike

Where you lock your bike is just as important as what you lock your bike with. 

Where to lock your bike

  • Park at bicycle racks, sign- fence- light- posts, parking meters, gas mains or mature trees.
  • Properly secure it to a fixed location that can't be lifted up and away. 
  • Keep the bike within your view or within the view of the front door.
  • Don't lock your bike overnight in an unfamiliar neighborhood without multiple locks. 

How to Lock Your Bike

If you don't lock your bike properly it can be vulnerable to theft. Make sure you lock both the frame and the front wheel of your bike. 

How to lock Your Bike

  • Take a quick release front wheel with you or take it off and lock it up to the frame. 
  • Always lock your rear wheel, frame and front wheel — cable lock your seat for extra protection.
  • Secure the lock tightly — don't leave any room for a lever or crowbar to pry the lock open. 
  • Always take accessories (lights, bottles, computers, bags, bells ect.) with you or lock them to your bike. 
  • Use locking skewers and bolts for your wheels, seatpost, headset and brakes. 
  • Never lock only your front wheel, handlebars, seatpost, top or head tube.
  • Don't rely on a bolt or screw to hold down anything — wrenches and screwdrivers are common tools. 

Milwaukee Police Department
Bike Theft Reduction Initiative
749 W. State St. 
Milwaukee, WI 53233


MKEBTR Facebook Group page

Connect on Twitter

Connect on Twitter


MPD Bike Theft Reduction
Initiative Partners 



University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University Police Department

3410 N. Maryland Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Marquette PD Badge
Marquette University
University Police Department

749 N. 16th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233

WI Bike Fed Logo
Bicycle Federation-Wisconsin
187 E. Becher Street Suite B
Milwaukee, WI 53207


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