Police report shows bicycle theft on the rise

    Bicycle theft rose 120 percent last year, while vehicle theft remained steady and auto burglary decreased compared to 2002, according to a report released by the Crime Prevention Unit of the UCSD Police.

    Courtesy of Lynsey Gebelin

    “”We release these annual statistics because auto theft, auto burglary and bike theft are the most commonly asked-about issues by students, staff, faculty and parents, second to attack and rape concerns,”” Officer Al Jenkins said.

    The Crime Prevention Unit uses the statistics to check what strategies they can employ in those specific areas.

    Auto burglary decreased 26 percent, targeting mostly Honda makes, according to Jenkins. Forty-four cars were stolen last year. The most targeted theft locations were Lot 702, Miramar Street and the Gilman Parking Structure.

    “”We spent more time and effort in monitoring the parking lots than any other year,”” Jenkins said. “”There is a separate department that supervises the transportation and parking, and we pooled our resources in a concerted effort to work together, which we’ll continue to do this year.””

    According to the report, 121 bikes were stolen in 2003, a major increase compared to the 55 bikes stolen in 2002.

    “”The bike thefts increased dramatically, and that sort of crime is so much more difficult to combat because the thefts occur all around campus,”” Jenkins said. “”Auto theft and auto burglary are easier to observe because they occur in usually the same lots.””

    According to Jenkins, a vast majority of the bikes were stolen because they were insufficiently secured, Jenkins said. They were not locked to the bicycle racks correctly, secured with an easily cut chain or wire, or not locked at all, he said.

    “”If you have a bike, secure it,”” Jenkins said. “”Even if it is not that expensive ó if you can’t afford to buy a new bike, you should afford to provide sufficient security. A $2 padlock and small cable is next to nothing in providing security.””

    According to Jenkins, more students seem to have bikes on campus this year than last.

    “”We do what we can in making sure if the bike is registered and secure, but the responsibility lies with the students,”” Jenkins said.

    Eleanor Roosevelt College freshman Hubert Luu said he locks his bike with a Kryptonite U-lock where he can keep an eye on it.

    “”You just have to remember to lock the actual frame and not just the tire,”” Luu said.

    According to Jenkins, education is a big component in crime prevention, and sometimes the students don’t know how to properly secure their bikes, and instead lock them to the branch of a tree or to wire fences, where thieves can easily snap off the branch or snip the wire.

    Students who register their bike have a much greater chance of recovering it than those who do not, Jenkins said.

    “”You should know the serial number and make of your bike,”” Officer Ian Happle said. “”Registering your bike is your proof of ownership. If we see that the bike is not registered, we assume it is stolen and we impound it.””

    Students are also advised to store their bikes in their suites during breaks or long weekends, and refrain from keeping them locked outside for long periods of time.

    “”We always ask the students when and where they last saw their bike, and there is a gap between when they last saw it and when they found out it was stolen,”” Jenkins said. “”They have this false sense of security, and it is the students’ responsibility to take the necessary precautions.””

    Matt Gunn, a freshman at Eleanor Roosevelt College, discovered his bike was stolen after returning from a three-day weekend in January.

    “”I used a coil lock, and I doubt that I locked it improperly,”” Gunn said. “”I didn’t register my bike because I 0just got it, so I know I have zero chance of getting it back.””

    A complete view of the Campus Vehicle Crimes Report is available at http://www.police.ucsd.edu.

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