There’s been a dramatic increase in bike thefts this summer compared to last, and police are urging cyclists to take extra precautions when locking their bikes.

In the past three weeks, 257 bikes have been reported stolen in Vancouver, compared to 167 during the same time last year, police Const. Jana McGuinness said yesterday.

“That’s a huge number of bicycles,” she said, adding it’s possible the spike is due to the prolonged good weather, which has more people out riding.

“When we look at last year’s totals overall, there were 1,596 bikes stolen. Already this year we’re at 1,417 bikes,” McGuinness said.

“We have four months left to go in the year, so the totals are going to surpass 2008.”

McGuinness said thieves are scaling second-storey balconies and breaking into underground storage lockers and garages to get at bikes.

Police recommend cyclists record their bike’s serial number and note after-market changes made to it, which helps police to track it down if it goes missing.