EDMONTON -- Bike thefts in Edmonton’s south side are on the rise, according to the Edmonton Police Service. 

“We have seen an increase, more of an increase this year,” Scott Pattison with the EPS told CTV News Edmonton. “We think because of the pandemic.”

Pattison noted that warmer weather typically ushers in a new rash of bike thefts, but added that this year has been worse than normal.

“It is certainly trending a little higher this year,” he said.

Police say bike thieves have been targeting detached garages in back alleys. This year, they say, the problem has been noticeably worse on the south side.

They say neighbourhoods like Old Strathcona have been particularly hard hit.

Last year the southwest division had 76 detached garage break-ins reported between April 1 and June 10. Over the same period this year there were 164.

Those break-ins resulted in 30 stolen bikes last year. This year that number almost doubled to 58.

The southeast has also seen an increase.

With 64 break-ins reported this year, compared to 58 in 2019. 

Last year those break-ins resulted in 13 stolen bikes, while this year there were 33.

Chris Chan, CEO of Bike Edmonton, told CTV News he’s been hearing that bike thefts have been going up. 

“One of the best things you can do is to always leave your bike locked. Even when it’s at home,” he said. 

“Most bikes are being stolen when they’re unlocked, so it’s not necessarily when it’s out on the street and out going places but when it’s at home.”

Another step you can take is to register your bicycle with Bike Index.

Since 2013 the North American non-profit has recovered over $10-million in stolen bikes.

“If it’s registered on Bike Index there’s a much, much better chance that it will find it’s way back to you,” said Chan.

In the end, Pattison suggests bike owners rethink their storage strategy altogether. 

“It may be best just to keep your bike inside. A lot of these bicycles are very expensive and it’s better to ensure they’re safe by keeping them in your house.”