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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    More education about bike theft prevention needed

    Bike theft is all too common on the UA campus as many students remain unaware of campus bike theft prevention programs. With more than 11,000 bikers on campus each day, accounting for about 20-25 percent of the student population, it is important that they are made aware of how to protect the property that they use so often.

    With options for students such as high-security bike lockers, gated enclosures, bike registration and bike valet services, administrative efforts to decrease bike theft rates is evident. Still, bike theft is such a common and overwhelming issue that raises the question of whether UA officials are doing all that they can to inform students of the options to protect their bicycles.

    As of Oct. 22, the University of Arizona Police Department had received 99 reports of stolen bikes during the semester. At the same time last year, 100 bikes were reported stolen, approximately 30 percent of the total bikes stolen during the 2012-2013 academic school year, according to university police records. If nearly one-third of total bikes stolen are reported missing in the first couple months of school, this indicates a breakdown in communication between students and faculty.

    Bill Davidson, manager of public information and marketing at Parking and Transportation Services, said that PTS helps inform students about bike safety and what they can do about bike theft at New Student Orientation and Residence Life move-in.

    “Education is the key,” Davidson said. “We need to make sure that every bike rider properly secures their bike with a good lock each and every time they are out on campus.”

    With such solid programs in place, administration should continue to focus on informing incoming freshmen of the importance of storing bikes properly. Information about how to use U-Locks, the safest places to park a bike and on-campus storage facilities should be a topic that is focused on more during campus tours and freshman orientation. Students should be aware of these startling statistics, as well as given the opportunity to hear firsthand stories from students who have experienced the stress of having their property stolen.

    While almost all of the bike lockers are being used each day, only about 30 percent of bike enclosures are used, according to Davidson.

    Lily Christopher, an environmental sciences sophomore, said she had her bike stolen in early September. She had owned it for a little more than two years and had secured it with a chain lock. Christopher said she did not register her bike because she was unaware that bike registration exists at the UA.

    Resident assistants could touch on the best strategies when it comes to storing bikes during hall meetings, not only at the beginning of the semester, but throughout the year. The more students informed, the better, and their knowledge would not only keep money in their pockets, but would also mean that more students are taking advantage of the money the UA is already spending on programs. It isn’t bike registration, bike lockers, bike enclosures or bike safety seminars that are the problem, it is the obliviousness of students regarding the existence of these programs that is hindering students’ ability to protect their property.

    UA alumnus Elliot Montgomery, an engineering major who graduated in 2012, analyzed campus-bicycle theft reports from 2006 to 2011 and identified September as the month when most bikes went missing. This research is further evidence that students need to be extra alert at the start of the school year when it is easy to get wrapped up and distracted by the abundance of experiences taking place. There is nothing like having your personal property stolen to stifle the beginning-of-the-year excitement.

    Parking and Transportation Services officials should partner with UAPD to better inform the community of how many bikes have been stolen each month. Doing so would not only ensure that students understand the importance of bike safety, but also notify them of the options they have when protecting their property. Our university could have the most effective and impressive bike theft prevention services in the nation, but that doesn’t mean a thing if students do not take advantage of them.

    Shelby Thomas is a journalism sophomore. Follow her @alyneshelby.

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