Campus bike thefts surge since end of fall break

Over the last month, the campus has seen a surge in the number of stolen bicycles. As of Wednesday, 11 incidents of bicycle theft have been reported to the police in the first three weeks of November, compared to the same amount being reported in the entire month of October.

According to the GTPD, there is typically a trend in theft reports seen after a school break, like last month’s Fall Break.

Bicycle thefts have typically occurred near residence halls. However, more and more incidents have begun occurring near the center of campus.

“Incidents have occurred during the early afternoon, or in times when there is heavy traffic on campus, when [the criminals] can easily blend in,” said Ian Mayberry, crime prevention officer.

According to the police, two different students witnessed a man breaking into a vehicle near the Student Center in the middle of the day last week.

Vigilant students have been praised by the police as being helpful in combating campus crimes. “In one incident, a female student noticed a suspicious male riding a bike, and was able to take a photograph with her cell phone and call the police,” Mayberry said.

The next morning, based on the photograph taken by the student, the police were able to apprehend the culprit, who admitted to stealing bikes on campus.

This homeless man was released from jail in two days, according to police. A few days later, however, thanks to student tips, the same individual was caught again stealing more bikes, and was arrested for the second time.

In response to this escalation in thefts, the police have taken a number of steps to remind students about proper bike security. Emails have been sent to residence hall directors to remind their students to take the necessary precautions to secure their valuables, including their bikes.

The police also posted signs on the many bike racks around campus to remind students to lock their bikes correctly and with the proper locks.

“Use U-Locks [and] not chain locks. It’s incredibly easy to cut a chain lock. All of the bikes stolen or recovered were either not locked up to begin with or used the easily-cut chain locks,” Mayberry said.

He stressed the importance of securing personal and valuable items, especially over longer breaks away from school.

“Secure all valuables, remove valuable items from your vehicles and take valuable items home with you. Also take…bikes home and don’t leave them here if you don’t ride it,” Mayberry said. “A lot of fraternities don’t have security systems, so be sure to secure the houses. Many sororities have better security systems, but a lot of the houses do not.”

There is a system that is run by the GTPD that allows students to register their valuable items like their bike or laptop computer. “The system is online on the police website, police.gatech.edu, and under ‘Crime Prevention’,” Mayberry said.