Bicycle theft can be avoided, police say

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    By CATHERINE BROWN

    Bicycle theft is one of the most common crimes at BYU, said a University Police officer.

    Sgt. Robert Eyre, University Police Crime Prevention Officer, said about 55 bicycles are stolen a year.

    “We recover 100 bikes a year,” said Eyre. “But we probably only recover about 1 percent of the stolen bikes.” The rest of the recovered bicycles are those that were impounded, Eyre said.

    “Bicycle theft is consistent all year round,” said Lt. Greg Barber of University Police. He said bicycle use is more common during spring and summer terms.

    “Our advice is to lock the bicycle to the bicycle rack with a U lock,” Eyre said.

    U locks are the best locks because they are harder to cut and stronger than cable or chain locks, he said.

    “Fewer bikes have been stolen that have U-locks,” Eyre said.

    About 38 percent of the stolen bikes have a cable or chain lock that has been cut. About 40 percent of bicycles reported missing were not locked at all, he said.

    “You can reduce the likelihood that your bike will be stolen if it is locked to a bike rack every time it is not in use,” Barber said.

    Recovered bicycles are more likely to be returned to their owner if they have been registered at BYU’s Traffic Office, Barber said. The Traffic Office assigns a serial number to each bicycle registered at the Traffic Office, he said.

    “A lot of bikes have their own serial number, so they don’t need a new number from the Traffic Office,” Barber said. “But a lot of bicycles have a model number, not a serial number.”

    Barber said if students bring their bicycles to the Traffic Office, they can make sure which one it is.

    Eyre said there is a double advantage in registering a bicycle at the Traffic Office. Besides making recovered bicycles more returnable, registered bicycles make thieves think twice, he said.

    “It acts as a deterrent because a lot of times if the thieves know they are registered, the thieves will not take them,” Eyre said.

    Eyre said when a bicycle is reported missing, they check the Traffic Office first to see if the bicycle has been impounded.

    Impounded bicycles are those that are abandoned, bicycles that have been recovered but are unclaimed and bicycles that were improperly parked around campus, Barber said.

    A person’s impounded bicycle can be recovered at the Traffic Office, Eyre said.

    But if impounded bicycles are not claimed, they are eventually sold at the University Surplus Sale, Barber said. “The money from the University Surplus Sale goes to the University General Fund,” he said.

    Eyre said after checking the Traffic Office, University Police officers check with Provo’s office to see if they have picked up the bicycle.

    “Sometimes the thief will steal it just for transportation across town and then abandon it,” Eyre said.

    Barber said if someone calls in to report a missing bicycle, he suggests checking the bicycle racks around campus.

    “If your bicycle is missing you can check around, and it may happen to be one that has been joyridden,” Barber said.

    Erin Staten, 20, a junior from Gaithersburg, Md., majoring in zoology-biology composite teaching, said she registered her bicycle at the Traffic Office when she first brought her bicycle to BYU. Staten said she only registered her bicycle at BYU because she had to register her bicycle at her home in Maryland.

    “At first I didn’t know why I had registered my bike, but then I found out it’s easier for the police to identify it if it gets stolen,” Staten said.

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