PTS urges caution after citing rise in bike thefts

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Business freshman Maria Fernanda Guerro makes sure to lock up her bike, even when leaving it on campus.
Photo Credit: Fabiana Peña Feeney | Daily Texan Staff

Citing a rise in bike theft among the UT community, Parking and Transportation Services is urging students to take precautions to prevent their bikes from being stolen.

According to APD crime records, there was a slight increase in bike thefts from December, which saw 14 thefts. January and February had 18 and 17 thefts, respectively.

Bikes both on and off campus have been targeted, although Jeremy Hernandez, the bike coordinator for PTS, said he thinks bikes near the center of campus have a lower risk of being stolen. However, Hernandez said leaving bikes on campus for long periods of time while their owners are away can increase the risk of theft, regardless of a bike’s location.

“Spring break is coming up, and people are gone for extended periods of time. Bike thieves are just as smart as normal people,” Jeremy Hernandez said. “They’re going to notice when people are here or not here.”

Public health senior Oscar Hernandez said having his bike stolen in West Campus early last year has given him a different view on leaving his bike out, both at home and on campus.

“I feel pretty safe when I’m on campus,” Oscar Hernandez said. “But it’s not like I’m gonna leave [my bike] there all night.”

Theatre and dance senior Maegan Wilson said she’s unconcerned about keeping her bike on campus — she thinks proper bike lockup is key to preventing theft.

“It seems like if you’re locking with a u-lock, [your bike] will be fine,” Wilson said.

Jeremy Hernandez said on top of proper lockup of frames and tires, paying attention to bike location does a lot to help prevent theft, especially for students who don’t often ride their bikes.

“Check on your property. Check on it once a week. Walk by it. Be sure it’s OK,” Jeremy Hernandez said, “Look at the lock. Check to see that there aren’t any frays or cut marks in the cable.”

Jeremy Hernandez said students should register their bikes with PTS and keep a picture of them to aid police in case of theft.

Theatre and dance senior Patricia Kelly said when her bike was stolen from north campus in November, it wasn’t registered, but having the information that UT’s registration system typically asks for made all the difference. Her bike was found at a pawn shop and returned to her last week.

“If I wouldn’t have had the serial number and everything, they wouldn’t have found it,” Kelly said.