Bike thefts are an increasingly common occurrence at UR, with 300 attempted or completed thefts on bikes or bike parts in the past three years, according to UR Security. As a university whose location makes it difficult to use cars or to walk out into the surrounding community, bikes are a useful form of transportation around and off campus. Protecting bikes should be a priority.
Security is working in conjunction with the Students’ Association on a voluntary registration drive for bikes intended to start before the end of the semester this is a great short-term plan. Registration stickers act as a deterrent to thieves and as a means for Security to track down stolen bikes.
In the long term, UR Facilities could build a few centrally located bike storage sheds on campus, which would be accessible by ID card and allow students to easily and securely store bikes during the semester. As a model, the Eastman School of Music had a bike shed with a Plexiglas ceiling and chain-link fence up until recent renovations required its temporary removal. Facilities has purchased 10 bike racks for the University, which should alleviate the problem of limited space on bike racks. Where possible, the new bike racks should be placed next to locations with existing cameras.
Other proposed ideas, such as security cameras, may act as deterrents to thieves, but cameras can encourage a false sense of security for the UR community and do little to track thieves.
While some of the onus falls on the University, it remains the students’ responsibility to properly lock up their bikes with a U-bar and to record the bike’s serial number. Additionally, engraving a name on the bicycle and keeping copies of the bike’s registration on file will limit the possibility of a bike being stolen and help the individual recover the bike.
The University represents an ever replenishing market of bikes for thieves. As the University’s population increases, the number of bike thefts will only increase unless the University plans to properly protect students’ property.