In the last two weeks, two bicycles were stolen from bicycle racks outside of Riverview Apartments and Wilder Tower. These are just two instances in the recent string of bicycle thefts that have occurred on the UR campus.

‘With the start of this year’s academic semester, we’ve noticed an upswing in bicycles being stolen,” Director of UR Security Walter Mauldin said.

Mauldin noted that one of the main reasons for this increase in bicycle thefts is that bicycles have become a more popular mode of transportation for students to get on and around campus, meaning that there are more for people to steal.

There has been an average of one bicycle stolen per day since the semester began. Security believes that the culprits are young teens between the ages of 12 and 16.

‘So far we’ve caught two people in the process, and we’ve identified four other persons who were casing to steal bicycles but were stopped beforehand,” Mauldin said.

Another two teens were stopped for other criminal behaviors and were found to have tools and bolt cutters in their possession when they were searched. There are also two youths who have caused trouble in the past on the UR campus who were just recently been released from prison. Security is not sure if they are involved but has the suspects’ pictures and information on file and is on the lookout for these people.

‘As far as the trend, the thefts most recently have been occurring in the area near Towers and near the science buildings like [Hutchison Hall] and Carlson [Library],” Mauldin said.
Bicycles have also been stolen from random places where students tend to leave them, such as attached to trees or polls. In a few of the thefts, the bicycles were not locked up, but in the majority of the cases they were secured.

Most of the students had smaller, lighter locks while only a half dozen used high-end locks that include thick aircraft cables, spun wire locks or U-shaped locks. Mauldin said that it is important to lock up bicycles, but that a cheap, $10 lock will not deter someone from trying to steal a $400 bicycle. He recommended that students with expensive bicycles invest in a heavy-duty lock as they are much harder to break.

The majority of thefts have occurred between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Security believes that the reason that bicycles are being stolen during daylight hours.

Mauldin suggests that the culprits can blend in because of the large amount of foot traffic between classes and will therefore go unnoticed.

UR Security has responded to these thefts by continuing to pay close attention to the bicycle areas, but monitoring these areas is difficult because there are between 35 and 70 bicycle rack areas and locations where bicycles are commonly left.

Mauldin warned that students should be more observant and if they happen to notice someone with two bicycles in his or her possession. In the event that a student encounters a suspicious person, they should go to the closest blue light or use their cell phone to call UR Security. Therefore, Security services can respond quickly and hopefully catch the perpetrators.

Security cameras are also being watched closely to see if, for instance, people come onto campus on foot but then leave with a bicycle.

All of the stolen bicycle information that has been reported has been turned over to the Rochester Police Department so that they are aware as well.

One of the main problems with recovery of the stolen property is that a lot of the students do not have a full detailed description of the bicycles.

Mauldin said that without a unique, identifying feature such as a serial number, it is difficult for the owner to claim possession of the bicycle.

If a student is identified as the owner of a recovered stolen bicycle, it is their responsibility to press charges against the culprits.

Since bicycles are personal items, the University cannot press charges and only has the option of warning caught youths and later arresting them on trespassing charges.
Last weekend, one of the victims did press charges and two youths were arrested.

Junior Hillary Maben described the incident when her bicycle was stolen earlier this year during Freshman Orientation Week. She had locked her bicycle at a rack just outside of Wilson Commons.

‘I felt like someone punched me in the front, because that was the last thing I was expecting,” she said. ‘I was going to bring it inside and the one time I locked it outside it got stolen.”

Mauldin has promised that UR Security will strive to be vigilant in their efforts to quell the increasing number of bike thefts at UR.

‘We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing and paying extra attention to bicycles,” Mauldin said. ‘We do have some extra patrols out but it’s a matter of being at the right place at the right time.”

Handis is a member of the class of 2009.

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