Bicycle theft on campus continues
At Grand Valley State University, bicycles have become a major mode of transportation for many people. The whir of tires mixed with a satisfying crunch as they ride over fallen leaves can be heard across campus.
In fall 2011, there were 255 registered bicycles on campus. Now, there are approximately 400. These numbers only offer an estimate, though, as many students do not register their bicycles, said Capt. Brandon DeHaan, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety.
“It is not a requirement; however we encourage everyone to do so,” DeHaan said. “When a bike is registered, important information is kept on file at the police department including the serial number. If the bike is stolen, we can put this important information into a national computer for law enforcement.”
Once a bike is registered, the police department will send a permit to the owner.
“The permit is helpful as a deterrent for theft,” DeHaan said. “Thieves are less likely to steal a bike if they are aware the serial number has been recorded and can be traced by the police.”
According to the 2013 Annual Fire Safety and Security Report, GVSU has seen an increase in reported larceny-theft crimes by about 10 percent over the 2010 to 2012 calendar years. Larceny-theft is the most commonly reported crime at the university, with 142 reports last year.
This year, DeHaan said 19 bicycles have been stolen since Aug. 26, and of these, 13 were preventable.
“A great deal of the time bikes are stolen on campus because the owner hasn’t locked it,” said Julie Carbine, dispatch coordinator for the Grand Valley Police Department. “And most stolen bikes aren’t registered. We’re still trying to reach out to that group. If something happens it offers another way to identify your bike. It is peace of mind. The permit doesn’t expire. There is no reason not to register your bike.”
Thieves are also cutting through cable locks, Carbine said. The U-lock is the best deterrent. It reduces the space available to insert a crowbar and limits the amount of leverage that can be used to break open a lock.
GVPD is also on the lookout for bicycles parked in non-designated areas such as sidewalks, or locked to trees or fences.
“Our attention is focused on improperly parked bicycles in the academic area,” DeHaan said. “There are a number of bike racks around campus. The university recognizes that sometimes those racks are full, and is working on identifying places for more. However, students shouldn’t be blocking handicap ramps or egresses in case of an emergency.”
Bicycles parked in undesignated areas will be tagged. After seven days it will be impounded; however students will not be fined. If the bicycle is not claimed after 90 days it will be donated to a charitable organization.
To register your bicycle, visit http://www.gvsu.edu/gvpd/bike.htm