Make sure your bike has extra locks when leaving it around Duren Residence Hall, Jester Residence Hall and the UT Administration Building, the three most common places for bike thefts, according to UTPD Corporal Le’Patrick Moore.
“Because Duren and Jester are huge student housing centers, there is a concentration of bikes there to steal,” Moore said. “(The administrative building) is secluded, making it an easy spot for thieves to get bikes without being noticed.”
There have been 53 reported bike thefts since the end of August, according to UTPD reports.
“Thirty-four of the bike thefts reported happened before the end of September,” Moore said. “We were able to catch one guy stealing bikes around that time, and thefts have gone down quite a bit since then.”
Matt Kumar, computer science senior, said he was surprised by the amount of bike thefts on campus.
“I would have assumed something like bike thefts would have happened less than muggings,” Kumar said. “I don’t often see bikes that are unlocked.”
Moore said students should use U-locks instead of cable locks to secure their bikes because cable locks are easier to cut and steal. He also said that students should put their lock around the frame instead of the tire.
“If you put the lock around the tire, a thief can easily take the tire off and steal the frame, which is the most expensive part of the bike,” Moore said. “I’ve been working at UTPD for three years, and I have only seen one bike stolen with a U-lock on it.”
One of the problems UTPD has with recovering bikes from thieves is they do not have the serial numbers of the stolen bikes, Moore said. Without the serial numbers, UTPD cannot log the bike into their database of pawn shops, which alerts them when the bike is sold.
“People do not know or (don’t) register their bike’s serial number with Parking and Transportation, so we have no way of tracking it,” Moore said. “It’s next to impossible to recover a bike without a serial number.”
Neuroscience freshman Uzair Saleem said when his bike was stolen he had no idea what the serial number was and does not expect he will ever get it back.
“It’s going to be incredibly hard to spot my specific bike in such a big city without any description,” Saleem said.
The UTPD bike unit has a program called bait bikes where officers put bikes with trackers out on campus and, if they get stolen, the unit can track down the thief. Since the end of September, there have been 12 arrests using this program.
“We look at our crime stats and place bikes at hot spots and wait for criminals to steal them,” Moore said. “We have had this program for a while, but no one really enforced or monitored it until the bike unit was restored this semester.”
The law places bike thefts under theft charges, meaning the penalty is a monetary fine, Moore said.
“Depending on how much the bike stolen cost, there could be between a $100 fine to a $750 fine,” Moore said. “If someone has been convicted of more than two bike thefts though, the monetary value goes up.”