IU Police Department Capt. Craig Munroe said about 29 bicycles were reported stolen last year. He also said a simple sticker could have helped recover those bikes.
Munroe is urging campus bicyclists to register their bikes for $10. This one-time fee also covers the cost of a sticker bicycle permit that doesn’t expire through the IU Office of Parking Operations.
“It can help recover your property if it’s stolen,” Munroe said. “We know that’s an issue here.”
Munroe said if a bike doesn't have a permit then there is not enough probable cause to prosecute someone who could've stolen it because the owner of the bike is unknown.
Even if IUPD does recover stolen bikes, without a permit they don’t know who to return the bike to.
“We may have had that bike at one time,” Munroe said. “But we couldn’t find the owner and then we have to process it. We can’t keep everything forever.”
Other benefits of registering bikes include the prevention of ticketing or being impounded. Munroe said if a bike is parked illegally, they can call the owner if it’s registered and have them move it before being impounded.
“It’s just like cars,” Munroe said. “I can read a license plate on a car and find the owner real quick and take care of business. Bicycles you just can’t do that because they’re not registered.”
People should call the police if they see someone shaking bikes or looking around a bike rack, Munroe said.
Munroe said to lock more than the front wheel because thieves can loosen the nuts on the front axle, take the body of the bike and leave the locked wheel. He said chain locks can be easily cut with small pliers, and titanium U-locks are more secure.
IU senior Hunter Pace started riding his bike to campus last year and hasn’t experienced any issues with theft, but said he’s worried about people stealing his seat and wheels.
“I think it’s really easy to turn a quick profit off of them because Bloomington is such a big biking community,” Pace said.
Pace said he uses a cable lock with reinforced steel to secure his bike. He said the lock is difficult to cut through but not as good as U-locks.
IU Office of Parking Operations recommends students use U-locks.
Munroe also said thieves will steal bicycle seats. If students have a nice seat and don’t ride their bike often, they should consider pulling it off and storing it inside, he said.
Munroe said he spoke to IU Residential Programs and Services and found students are allowed to store their bikes in their rooms. Although he said it might be cumbersome, it ensures the safety of the vehicle.
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