Bicycles locked in the College Creek Apartments courtyard on Feb. 29. | Photo by August Andrews

Students Suffer from Frequent Bike Thefts

Humboldt State University police say a student on campus gets their bike stolen every day
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Humboldt State University police say a student on campus gets their bike stolen every day

Many Humboldt State University students have their bikes disappear from where they left them. Either a front wheel attached to a bike rack with the lock around it or a frame without a back wheel remain. Some thieves can even take the whole bike by using bolt cutters to cut the bike lock. Bikes are expensive, and having them stolen is a real cost to a student.

Kaitlin McKie, a 23-year-old student at HSU majoring in engineering, lives off-campus. Her partner’s bike was stolen at their apartment complex. She said bike theft has been going on for a while.

“Use U-locks instead of the cable locks,” McKie said. “They’re a little bit heavier—a little bit harder to put on the bike rack—but it’s definitely worth the investment.”

Bike thieves can dismantle newer bikes from the front and back tires by lifting a lever on the wheel and unscrewing it, which releases the wheel from the frame. This makes it easy to remove the frame from the front tire or remove the back wheel. This technique is manufactured for bike owners to easily break them down to create a more convenient way to travel.

University Police Department Sergeant John Packer said a student’s bike is stolen on campus every day.

Jack McLaughlin, a freshman chemistry major at HSU, said three of his friends had their bikes stolen this semester on campus.

“Never leave your bike for a minute,” McLaughlin said. “Always keep your eyes on your bike. If you can, bring it into the classroom with you. If you’re leaving it somewhere overnight, bring it inside with you.”

University Police Department Sergeant John Packer said a student’s bike is stolen on campus every day. While it’s hard to stop these crimes from happening, there are ways to prevent it.

Packer suggested you register your bike at the police station. This allows officers to match your serial number to a newly confiscated bike to return to you if it is stolen.

Police officers can find your bike at a pawn shop by matching the serial number to the numbers that the pawn shop will register in their system. Pawn shops can even give police officers copied images of the seller’s ID, which police can use when investigating the crime.

“Ride your bike every day,” Packer said. “If you’re doing that, you know where it is, you’re locking it up, you’re moving it around from point A to point B. It will be with you at that point in time.”

Packer also suggested investing in a Kryptonite bike lock. These bike locks are well known for being tough, reliable and hard to cut. If you don’t want to buy one a Kryptonite lock, Packer said a simple, thick chain with a lock can do the trick.

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