Earlier this week, I woke up and discovered that someone had tried to steal my bike.
The quarter-inch steel cable I use to attach my front wheel to my U-lock had been cut almost in half. Luckily, the measures I had put in place since freshman year, when my bike was actually stolen, prevented the thief from making off with it. But the event still left a sour taste in my mouth. I am not alone in this either.
More so this year than any previous, I have been hearing about stolen bikes and clipped locks. While it’s easy to call for the administration to take more interest in this, by installing security cameras over some racks, increasing security patrols or any other measures to ensure the safety of our property, in reality this is not likely to happen. It therefore falls to us, the students, to protect what’s ours.
First, no matter what you think, the University is not “the good part of town.” Feeling secure just because you’re on campus does not work. Certain steps have to be implemented if you don’t want to have that horrible feeling of seeing the empty spot where your bike used to be. The most common mistake I see around campus is people only locking their front wheel. If your lock does not pass through the frame of your bike, the front wheel can be removed and the rest of the bike is gone. Believe me, people do this. Walk around campus and see how many solitary well-secured wheels are locked to racks.
Secondly, your bike is worth investing in. If you don’t already own a strong lock, I strongly suggest you upgrade. Anything less than a U-lock or a level five cable lock can be easily cut through with a wire cutter.
Even level five locks, however, can be cut through. “Medium to High Crime Area” locks are more suited for campus security. Ideally, lock the frame of your bike to the rack with a U-lock, then buy a cable to lock your front wheel to your U-lock. Excessive? Maybe. Secure? Yes. The last thing to keep in mind is that even if you don’t ride your bike every day, check to see if it’s there every day. The sooner you report a stolen bike, the more likely security can actually do something about it.
If you feel these measures are not enough, you can register the serial number of your bike with the local police, which can help in finding it. This is a very real problem and if you don’t take steps to secure your property, then there is a good chance that it may go missing. Don’t wait for a stolen bike to figure out how to secure your property. Take steps to ensure that you’re not the next person to fall prey to these thieves.
Carlile is a member of the class of 2013.