Bike thefts at CSUN on the rise

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Many bicycles can be seen locked on the bicycle racks near the Oviatt Library. Some of the most recent thefts occurred near the Oviatt Library, according to a 'Campus Crime Alert' released by police services in late February. Photo Credit: Tessie Navarro / Staff Photographer

Bicycle thefts on campus continue to be a problem. Seventeen bicycle thefts have been reported to the CSUN department of police services as of March 1.

Police services released a ‘Campus Crime Alert’ in late February to inform the CSUN community about this on-going issue. The most recent thefts occurred near Jacaranda Hall, Nordhoff Hall and the Oviatt Library.

The campus crime alert also stated bikes locked with cable chain locks are being targeted because they can easily be cut.

“Cable locks are easily snapped with a pair of pliers,” said Christina Villalobos, special assistant to the CSUN chief of police and community relations officer.  “Unfortunately, these are not effective locks and people should invest a little more money and buy a U-shaped lock to decrease their chances of becoming a victim of bike theft.”

U-shaped locks cannot be easily cut, which makes it more difficult for thieves to steal bicycles secured with one, Villalobos said.

Domonique Montano, apparel merchandising major, said she rides her bike regularly to campus.  She said she uses a U-shaped lock to secure her bicycle on-campus.

According to the department of police services, 81 bicycles were reported stolen in 2010 and 63 were reported stolen in 2009.

Scott VanScoy, captain of patrol operations, stressed the importance of taking advantage of CSUN bicycle registration program.

Bicycle registration is a free service offered to CSUN students, faculty and staff by campus police.

During the bicycle registration process, the bike’s serial number, description and owner contact information is kept on file at the department of police services, Villalobos said.

This information can be added to the national law enforcement stolen database, if the bicycle is reported stolen.

“The benefit of being in the bicycle registration program is that we keep that information on file,” Villalobos said. “We also give the owner a copy of this information, so that they can have it readily available if they ever needed to report it stolen.”

VanScoy said during routine stops of bicyclists, police officers run the bike’s serial number.  If the serial number belongs to a registered stolen bike, it will be returned to its rightful owner.

Police services encourages bicyclists to take preventive steps to secure their property, such as registering their bikes, buying a more efficient U-shaped lock, and consider using the enclosed, secure Matador Bicycle Compound.

Currently, one bicycle compound is available for the CSUN community to use.  It is located in the B3 parking structure.

“The bicycle compound offers a secure place to park your bike in an enclosed, gated location so you don’t have to park at an open bike rack,” Villalobos said.  “We (police services) monitor and regulate who has access to that bicycle compound because it’s not just anyone—you have to register to gain access to the compound.”

Graduating senior Montano said she was not aware the Matador Bicycle Compound existed.

“Students who ride their bike to campus don’t usually go into the parking lots,” said Montano, 21. “It’s kind of out of the way. It’s nice being able to ride my bike on-campus and park it at one of the racks closest to were I need to go.”

Villalobos said the bicycle compound is underutilized and she hopes that the completion of two more compounds around campus will help their numbers improve.

“Students like the idea of the compounds, but the one location was inconvenient for them,” Villalobos said.  “The other two compounds will be located in the B5 and G3 parking structures.”

The new bicycle compounds were scheduled for completion last semester.  Villalobos said other construction projects on campus, like the Valley Performance Arts Center, took priority and delayed completion of the additional compounds.

“They should be ready for use later this spring,” she said.


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  • http://twitter.com/stolenbikessan Bryan Hance

    If you’ve had a bike stolen, don’t forget that you can register it (for free) over at stolenbicycleregistry.com. This puts its serial number into a public database, and that way if the bike pops up later (craigslist, ebay, etc) it can be flagged as stolen and the owner alerted.