The University Police Department (UPD) has been conducting investigations into a recent rise in bicycle thefts on campus. Over the past several weeks, six bicycles have been reported stolen.
Of the six stolen, four have been successfully returned to their owners. At this time, arrest warrants are out for three possible suspects in these thefts.
“Most of those bikes were locked,” said UPD investigator Brian Shelton.
A vast number of bikes stolen were locked with cable locks, according to Shelton.
A cable lock is the traditional and often most convenient method of locking a bicycle. These locks have a cable or chain that wraps around the bike to secure it to a stationary object such as a university-provided bike rack.
In light of the recent thefts, the UPD recommends U-Locks as the best way for students to safeguard against bike theft. U-Locks are heavy metal bars formed in a U-shape, as opposed to a flimsy cable or chain.
“Cable and chain locks are very breakable,” said UPD Officer Tracy Simpson.
When the bicycles stolen from campus were recovered, the victims provided serial numbers for identification, Shelton said. This made it easy to locate the rightful owner of the bike
The National Bike Registry, a program of the Crime Prevention Council, offers bike owners a way to register their bikes online with serial numbers in case of a theft. This information can be accessed by law enforcement throughout the country.
The National Bike Registry suggests that a four year college student has a 53 percent chance of losing their bike while on campus.
The NBR website also provides many helpful tips on how to lock a bike properly.
According to the NBR, bicycle owners should not let their locks rest against the ground where they can be easily smashed by potential thieves. Protecting the bike with a U-Lock prevents the possibility of a thief being able to manipulate the lock and crush it.
The NBR also reminds students to lock bikes to a fixed, immovable object like a parking meter, or a permanent bike rack that is cemented or anchored into the ground. University-provided bicycle racks can be found in front of most buildings on campus.
Proper locking technique must also be insured to provide maximum bicycle security. The NBR website reminds bicyclists to always be sure to lock their bike from around the frame. Handlebars and wheels can be removed easily in order to take the lock off.
If a student discovers his or her bike has been stolen, they should contact the UPD immediately, Shelton said. After the report is filed, the police will know who to contact if the bike is found.
“We appreciate the students and their vigilance,” Shelton said. Students can play a key role in this investigation by reporting any suspicious behavior as well as reporting cut bicycle locks around campus.
All students should be aware of their surroundings while on campus, Simpson said. Any witness information regarding the bike thefts should be submitted to the UPD.
The UPD can be reached at 972-2093 or at the UPD office located on Robinson Street.
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