Update: Six more bike thefts this week brings total to 12
Since mid-August, 12 bikes — including nine locked bikes — have been stolen on campus, prompting campus safety to issue a campus-wide alert.
According to campus safety reports, nine of the 12 bicycles had been locked with a cable lock at the time of the theft.
The 12 thefts is up significantly from last year, in which August and September saw only three bikes thefts, all of them unlocked, and one foiled theft of a locked bike.
But the year before that, the two months saw nine thefts, several from within bike rooms.
The bikes were stolen on August 19, 29 and 30; September 11, 13, 20 and 30; and two on October 1 and three on October 4.
“As handy and nice as cable locks are, they can easily and quickly be cut with wire cutters,” said Bill Corner, campus safety director. “It can even look like someone is trying to unlock their bike, since wire cutters are small and can be hidden in the sleeve.”
As an alternative, Corner recommends students use a U-lock or chain. “They are nice, solid and metal. It would take a hacksaw and quite a bit of time to cut through those.” He also said a simple cable lock was adequate for storage inside the bike rooms.
Besides buying better locks, the best precaution Corner recommends is registering student bikes with campus safety.
“When [students] register, they get a permit and serial number, so if the bike is stolen, we have both to give to the police,” he said.
The bikes were stolen this fall from bike racks outside Boer-Bennink, Rooks-VanDellen, Schultze-Eldersveld, Bolt-Heyns-Timmer, Zeta-Lambda, Rho-Tau and the commons annex.
Corner also emphasizes that students should report bike larcenies to the local police.
“[The police] put it into a national stolen items database … and as long as they have the serial number, if found it will come up as stolen,” Corner said.
Corner shared the story of a Calvin grad whose bike was stolen while they were living in Illinois. “The local police found it and called Calvin. We gave them the name of the owner, and they got it back to the owner down in Illinois,” he said.
Other schools have also fallen victim to this increased string of bike larcenies, Corner added.
He did not want to speculate, but said, “It could be that someone is taking bikes to just turn around and sell them or take them apart and sell the pieces.”
He also said there have not been similarities in the stolen bikes.
“[Thieves] usually look for more valuable bikes,” Corner said. “Sometimes they look for particular brand or type.”
Corner urges students to report any suspicious activity to campus safety.
“To reduce crime, all people need to do is take proper security measures,” he said.