UP notes recent rise in bike thefts

Susan Daker

University Police said bicycle theft on campus has increased this year, especially theft of locked bikes parked outside Technological Institute and Leverone Hall.

Bicycles with cable locks are targeted because the locks can be broken easily, said UP Asst. Chief Daniel McAleer. The thieves use bolt cutters to cut through the cable easily and quickly.

No specific brands of bicycles are being targeted; rather, “thieves look for the ability to steal the bike” and “steal it quickly,” McAleer said.

UP does not have statistics on the number of bikes taken because bike thefts are classified with other thefts.

“We just know we are taking more bike theft reports,” McAleer said. “So many bicycle thefts are related to cable locks. It really kind of sticks out.”

One of the most recent cases occurred Monday when a student’s bike was taken from a rack outside Leverone between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m, McAleer said. The bike, a Gary Fisher men’s model worth $650, was secured with a cable lock. UP is still investigating the case.

McAleer said it has been his experience that stolen bikes often are resold in Chicago. He said UP has talked to a number of people regarding the thefts but has not caught anyone yet.

During the fall, bike thefts tend to increase because the influx of freshmen creates a batch of new bikes to campus, McAleer said. In the winter, bike theft decreases because students often store their bikes.

Unlike the theft of entire bicycles, the theft of bicycle parts usually is committed by juveniles, McAleer said. Juveniles may then resell the parts or use them for their own bikes.

McAleer said theft can be prevented by using U-shaped, Kryptonite bike locks. These locks are on sale at the University Parking Office, 1819 Hinman Ave., for $30, which is the wholesale cost.

Students also should register their bikes, McAleer said, because it increases the chance of recovery by a trace of the bike’s serial number.

Bikes can be registered at the Parking Office or at the Evanston Police Department, 1454 Elmwood Ave. Registration costs $1 and the owner must provide the bike’s serial number and description.

McAleer said about 10 registered bikes are recovered during an average year. These bikes often are recovered when UP receives a call about a crime in progress, McAleer said.

Cmdr. Michael Perry of the Evanston Police Department said bicycle thefts in Evanston are common but do not happen every day.

McAleer said UP is looking for student help to apprehend the people responsible for the thefts.

UP posted fliers around dorms alerting students to the increase in thefts. McAleer said students should report any suspicious person who loiters around bicycle racks.