Police report rising bicycle thefts

Bike riders beware. A growing number of bicycle thefts have been reported on campus this month.

UH Police Capt. Brad Wigtil said although one arrest has been made, the UH Police Department has not been able to explain the reason behind increased thefts.

As of Tuesday, 10 bicycles were reported stolen from bike racks across campus, and one student claimed someone stole both rims from his bike which he had secured at a campus bicycle rack.

Wigtil said most of the thefts are caused by a few recurring problems seen across campus – overcrowded bike racks and the use of locks that can be easily broken.

"Sometimes people have nowhere to put them, and that makes it an easier target," Wigtil said. "One of the other issues with the bikes that I am noticing is that the bikes getting stolen are locked with chain and padlock and that is really easy to defeat with cutters."

The UH Department of Public Safety reported 10 bicycles stolen so far in October. In September, however, the UH Police Department reported only four incidents, all of which occurred in the last two weeks of the month. Only one bike theft was reported in August.

The bike racks on campus are unevenly distributed and overcrowded, forcing riders to leave their bikes unsecured, Wigtil said.

Wigtil suggested the use of more secure locks such as a U-lock, which is more resistant to cutters than cable or chain locks.

"That would be a much better way of securing the bikes," Witgil said.

For architecture freshman and frequent biker Abigail Vollers, the thefts are not something she is too worried about.

"I’m not worried about my bike at all," Vollers said. "I don’t feel that bad leaving it out. I use an anti-theft lock so good luck stealing that."

To battle thefts, the police department is conducting a survey to find out where to add more bicycle racks and requests that students e-mail location suggestions to [email protected].

"We’re doing surveillance and plainclothes assignments (to catch the thieves.) We’re also putting out a bait bike," Wigtil said. "Proactive prevention and changing the type of lock from cables and chains to (the U-lock) can help stop the thieves."

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