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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bike theft

    Bike theft

    As droves of new students enter the UA each year, there are several things campus officials warn them about, one of the more prominent of which is bicycle theft.

    “”When students ask about crime and safety on campus, we tell them the most frequent instance is bike theft, and we give them recommendations,”” said Scott Kirkessner, coordinator of campus tours. “”The team warns students that the crimes that happen on campus are crimes of convenience, so we’ll say, ‘Don’t leave it on campus, and make sure you always lock up your bike.'””

    Based on statistical data from the University of Arizona Police Department, in 2002 there were 524 reports of theft occurring on campus. In the last year, that number has dropped to 234.

    While there are a few reasons for the recent drop in bike theft, it mainly stems from a more collaborative effort to educate the community about bike safety, said Juan Alvarez of the UAPD Crime Prevention Unit.

    “”We canít do it alone,”” Alvarez said. “”We have to educate our staff, faculty and students, and get them to register their bikes at Parking and Transportation, which makes it harder for someone to go out and sell it.””

    UAPD hosts an annual drive on the UA Mall where students can register their bikes and then receive serial numbers to track them.

    “”We pretty much do all the work,””

    Alvarez said. “”All they have to do is show up.””

    Still, every year, new students purchase bikes to make commuting to campus easier, only to find that they might not have that same bike a few years later.

    Some of the causes of bike theft on or around campus are more preventable than others.

    “”I think probably some have very expensive bikes and they donít lock it up properly. I just see them lock it with just the wheel and they can just take the bike,”” said Ruby Romero, credentials evaluator supervisor at the UA Admissions Office and an avid bicyclist. “”But mostly because they have really nice bikes and that’s what people are after.””

    Romero said she purchased her bike for $50 and has not had any trouble with it since. She added that students can purchase UAPD-recommended locks from the campus police station for a discounted price of $12.

    Getting a cheap bike is a precaution UAPD officers agree is helpful in deterring potential thieves. Debunking myths about where and when to park a bike is another.

    “”In the daytime, it is still pretty easy for someone to come and blend in,”” Alvarez said. “”At night it might be tougher because people stand out more.””

    Places where there are large concentrations of bikes, such as at the Main Library and at Coronado Residence Hall, also tend to see more thefts, but there are no one or two hot spots that see more action than others, Alvarez said.

    The UA currently has a policy that does not allow students to bring their bicycles inside campus buildings, so often students must learn on their own where the best places are to lock up their bikes.

    On a designated bicycle rack, with the lock wrapped around the front wheel, the frame, and then again through the rack, is the proper way, Romero said.

    If a student is parking a bike off campus, situations can become trickier. Many apartment complexes do not have the constant surveillance that a bike left on the UA campus might have.

    Gwen Shriver, a leasing agent at Arizona Commons II Apartments, said students would do best to keep their bicycles inside – especially with hot weather and rain, which can destroy a bike.

    As a cyclist who has been a victim of bike theft, Shriver also provided some inside tips on which bike locks to go for.

    “”OnGuard locks are terrible and will fall apart,”” she said. “”Kryptonite – those are the best.””

    In the end, there is not much you can do once a bike turns up missing, Alvarez said. The best thing to do is to be aware and take the proper precautions, such as registering your bike.

    “”We report crimes when they occur on campus, but it happens everywhere. It happens in the city as well,”” Alvarez said. “”A lot of people are interested in stealing property, but what we try to do is make those criminals feel like they’re not going to be successful here.””

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