Campus bike theft is a vicious cycle


Emma Li

Students lock their bikes in Ikenberry Commons on Thursday, Oct 20, 2016.

By Brooke Eberle, Contributing Writer

Every day, Becky Lauher, campus detective with Crime Prevention, deals with students whose bikes are stolen at the University.

“Bikes seem to be stolen most often outside of residence halls during the warmer months,” Lauher said. “A lot of students will take a bike to campus and use the bus system more, so they don’t check on it as often.”

Lauher highly recommended that students register their bikes or memorize the serial number so that campus police can identify the true owner after the bike is recovered.

If the bike was stolen on campus, then students can go the University Police Department in Urbana to report it. If the bike was stolen off campus, then contact the Urbana or Champaign police, respectively.

Mindy Eng, sophomore in AHS, said that she had a bike stolen outside of her friend’s apartment in Urbana overnight.

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“I didn’t register the bike beforehand, so I felt like I couldn’t report it to the police,” Eng said. “Now I use my roommate’s bike pretty often, about four times a week, and have purchased a new lock to keep it safe.”

Lorenzo Grego is co-president of the RSO Bike Face and is a senior in LAS. The club is a social group that wants to spread awareness about bike safety.

On Monday, the club was on the Main Quad encouraging students to register their bikes in case they are stolen.

“Most people don’t take the time to invest in a proper lock or don’t lock the bike in a proper manner,” Grego said.

Both Eng and Grego discouraged people from buying a wire lock because those can be cut easily with pliers. Instead, they recommended using a U-lock because those are the hardest to break through. However, if using a cable lock then make sure to thread it through the middle of the frame in addition to the front and back wheels because thieves can detach the tires.

Many students don’t realize that they’re locking their bike up to an unfixed object; Grego said that there are several concrete barriers on the Main Quad that can be easily lifted up. Many students also don’t realize that a thief can lift the bike and lock over an object to steal it.

After working in a bike shop, Grego discovered how expensive bike parts can be and how easy they are to sell on the internet without detection, which is a common reason for bike theft.

“Basically you just have to make it so that they don’t want to go through all the risk to steal it,” Grego said.

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