By Rachel Leland, Reporter
Having a bike is a convenient way to get to class, but many students are unwittingly leaving their bicycles subject to theft. According to the National Bike Registry, a database that helps return stolen bikes to their owners, a four-year college student has a 53 percent chance of having their bike stolen.
Dallas senior Brianna Fisher recalls the time her bike was stolen. It was freshman year when someone cut the cable lock she purchased to secure her bike. The bike was $150 and Fisher still remembers the panic she felt when she discovered that her bike was missing.
Bikes secured with cable locks are an easy target for thieves, said Kandy Knowles, Baylor Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialist. Cable locks are easier to transport, but are also the easiest to cut.
“Most of the bikes that have been reported stolen were with cable locks,” Knowles said.
Instead of cable locks, Knowles recommends students secure their bikes with u-locks, which are much harder to compromise.
Should a student’s bike get stolen, the Baylor Police Department will be much more equipt to find and return the stolen property if it is registered on nationalbikeregistry.com or with Baylor.
If an unclaimed or stolen bike is discovered, Baylor Police can run the serial number through their database and hopefully return the bike to its owner.
Unfortunately, police will have a harder time locating a stolen bicycle if the owner has not registered it either in a national database or with Baylor. If an unregistered bike is reported stolen, Baylor Police will search for it on campus Knowles said.
When Fisher reported her bike stolen, an officer took a description of her bicycle and drove around campus to look for it.
“I already knew it was likely off campus. They should be partnering with pawn shops to keep an eye out for stolen bikes,” Fisher said.
In fact, Baylor Police use the services of the nation’s largest online investigation system for law enforcement, Leads Online. This service records transactions at pawn shops. If the police have the serial and registration, locating the stolen bicycle becomes an easy task.
This year, three bicycles were reported stolen in the first week of classes. This is higher than last year when two bicycles were stolen in the first week. However, both Knowles and Baylor Police Chief Brad Witgil said they believe the numbers are much higher than that because of underreporting.
“I have had so many people come up to me and say ‘My bike was stolen, but I never reported it,’” Knowles said.
Knowles said registered bikes are marked by a Baylor sticker.
“If we see a 45-year-old man riding a pink Huffy with a Baylor sticker on it, we know that the vehicle is probably stolen,” Knowles said.
Students that want to take advantage of the bike registration services can visit a registration table frequently set up on Fountain Mall, or at the Baylor Police Department office.