Reports of stolen bikes up this year
Jacob is not alone. So far this academic year, 72 bicycles have been reported stolen, according to records obtained from Public Safety on Wednesday. This represents a dramatic increase in the number of thefts, as only 50 bicycles were reported stolen during the 2007-08 academic year.
“We’re really not sure why it’s so high this year,” Public Safety officer James Lanzi said of the number of bicycle thefts.
This year’s figure may be larger because more students are reporting their missing bikes, Lanzi explained, or because students have become more complacent.
“This is a small campus without serious crime, so a false sense of security might set in,” Lanzi said. “We want to help fight that possibility.”
He suggested that students should be more vigilant about guarding their bikes.
“In my 28 years of working here, I’ve never gotten a stolen bike report for a bike that was properly locked,” Lanzi said.
Even chain-locked bikes are vulnerable, he noted, as chain locks are easier to crack than “U”-shaped locks.
Jacob said he locked his bike with a “U”-shaped lock, but he noted that many students are not as responsible.
“People get lazy and don’t lock [their bikes] a lot of times,” he said, adding that he decided not to report the theft of his bike to Public Safety.
“With reading period and finals taking up most of my time I didn’t really want to waste my time with Public Safety because they probably wouldn’t find it anyways,” Jacob explained in an e-mail.
Lanzi called Jacob’s decision “unfortunate,” adding that not reporting a stolen bike is detrimental to campus safety.
“By that person not reporting [the theft], it directly affects fellow community members,” Lanzi said. “If we don’t know what’s going on, then further crimes can occur as a result of students’ failure to report theft.”
Public Safety is taking steps to help students protect their property. It recently launched an awareness campaign, “Prevent It, Lock It, Register It,” to publicize the bicycle theft problem, Lanzi said.
When the number of bicycle thefts reached 158 in the 2001-02 academic year, Lanzi said, Public Safety responded with a “more progressive approach,” and this number of bicycle thefts dropped consistently until this year.
“We changed our policing model to be more proactive with awareness programs and registration information,” he said. “Cop visibility on campus also increased because each patrolman was … required to do two hours of watch duty every day.”
Still, Lanzi noted, increased publicity alone will not remedy the issue.
“Public Safety can’t do everything,” he said. “It’s the community that’s going to make the difference.”