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Bike thefts continue on campus

Bill Hall

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Proper Lock

Photograph by Sam Rivera
Chico State employee Lora Ferguson shows how to properly use a U-lock to secure her bike to a rack.

Chico State continues to be a prime target for bike thieves this semester.

About 30 bikes have been reported stolen to university police since the start of the fall semester, said Lt. Corinne Beck.

Thieves are targeting various bike racks across campus, but there has been a concentration of thefts near the residence halls.

Many of the bikes that were stolen were secured using a cheap cable lock, or had U-locks that weren’t anchored to both the front tire and the frame of the bike, Beck said.

Proper locking techniques are key to preventing bikes from being stolen, said Russell Mills, a Chico State engineering professor and vice president of the Chico Velo Cycling Club.

“If you just lock your front wheel, then all someone has to do is remove your front wheel, and then they have the rest of your bike,” Mills said.

University police recommend that students check on their bikes regularly. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time of theft when a bike has been stationary for extended periods.

“Sometimes we are seeing that these stolen bikes are locked up for three to four days at a time,” Beck said.

Students should be wary of purchasing inexpensive, high-quality bikes on Craigslist because they may be stolen property, Beck said.  Students often report seeing their stolen bike being ridden on campus.

“As the old saying goes, ‘if it seems too good to be true then it probably is,’” Beck said.

Students in residence halls are at greater risk than others because most of them have to leave their bikes locked to the racks all night long, Mills said. He is advocating for a secure bike parking area that
would require either key or pass card access for entry. None of the residence halls currently have such a place.

Many of the stolen bicycles have been recovered and the suspected thieves arrested, Beck said. They were booked and charged with either petty or grand theft, depending on the value of the bike.

Students who register their bikes with university police have a greater chance of getting their property back, Beck said.

Many of the thefts this year were identified before the owner even discovered their bike was missing.

Students can purchase a three-year registration with university police for $10. Renewals after the initial purchase are $5.
Bill Hall can be reached at [email protected]

 

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Bike thefts continue on campus