By Anthony Cave
University Police Services had their hands full last semester with cut bicycle locks – and stolen bikes – according to Sgt. Ryan Willman.
Whether the bikes were around the residence halls or simply unoccupied for any period of time, Willman said these thefts were significant.
According to preliminary UPD data, 17 bikes were stolen between July 1, 2021, and Jan. 20, 2022.
But, a new partnership between UPD and The Bike Shop appears to have curbed bike thefts.
Funded by Campus Recreation Services, any student in need can pick up a U-lock from either The Bike Shop or UPD headquarters on the ground level of the yoU Apartments on Maryland Parkway.
The locks provide double the level of reinforcement with a zinc lock cylinder and a steel cable that secures a bike’s wheels and frame.
Of the 100 U-locks available to students, about 25 have been distributed thus far. They work on scooters with a fixed handle bar, too.
And while no lock is perfect, circumventing a U-lock wouldn’t be worth a thief’s time.
“We’re seeing a substantial downtick,” Sgt. Willman said.
Willman also stressed the importance of students registering bikes on campus, even if a student doesn’t pick-up a lock.
UPD detectives have been able to track down stolen bikes from pawn shops, for example, because a bike was registered and had the serial number.
According to Willman, other crime trends UPD has dealt with recently are catalytic converter thefts and even people having their gas siphoned directly from the gas tank.