Author: Malcolm MacLeod
Members of Bike Share are reaching out to the community for information on the growing number of on-campus bicycle thefts in order to encourage Campus Safety to implement more comprehensive surveillance measures.
Bike Share sent out an anonymous email survey Sept. 6 asking victims of bicycle theft to provide details of their experiences. Bike Share’s survey addresses information such as when and where the theft occurred, what was stolen, if the bike was locked up and whether the theft was reported.
Once they’ve collected enough information, Bike Share’s members plan to approach Campus Safety about increasing security measures in popular parking spots for bikes on campus. According to Bike Share’s Student Service Manager Marvin Browne (senior), there has been an increase in bike thefts since the start of 2015. Although the thieves do not always steal the entire bike, they often leave what’s left of the bike unusable.
“There have been times where it’s like an epidemic, and no one has a seat on their bike because they’re all being stolen,” Browne said.
First-year students have already been impacted by bike thefts on campus. One first-year student had his bicycle stolen from outside of Bell Young Aug. 31.
“All that they left was the lock, which they had cut,” Chris Toribio (first year) said. I reported the theft to [Campus Security]. I wanted to call the local police but I don’t know, I just kind of figured it was gone already.”
Browne said that Bike Share’s primary goa is to encourage Campus Safety to implement more video surveillance in areas where bicycles are regularly parked and stolen. The members of Bike Share also plan to educate community members on the most effective way to use their bike locks.
“You’ve got to lock up the frame and the wheel, never just the frame. Preferably with a U-Lock, because a cable lock can be cut pretty easily with bolt cutters,” Browne said.
Where students park their bikes can also contribute to their vulnerability.
“I think another big thing is telling people not to leave their bikes locked in one place for a long time. That’s when they become targeted,” Bike Share employee Mike Ma (senior) said.
Although Bike Share’s members have not yet presented their findings to Campus Safety, they hope that by gathering this information and opening a dialogue, it might improve upon a relationship which has been perceived as helpless by some victims of theft.
According to Browne, one anonymous student reported to the survey that their $1,600 bicycle was stolen. When this student approached Campus Safety asking to see surveillance footage from the scene of the crime, their request was denied.
“You know, a lot of people have said they didn’t report the thefts to [Campus Safety], because their thought is, ‘this won’t help me get my bike back.'” Browne said.
Browne and his peers at Bike share look forward to beginning a constructive dialogue with Campus Safety once they’ve collected enough information. It is Browne’s hope that with their recent efforts, Bike Share can set a precedent for a mutually beneficial relationship between Campus Safety and Occidental’s cyclists.
Campus Safety was unavailable for comment.
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