Avoiding Bike Theft

Amanda Towner is currently in her senior year at Stetson University, where she is majoring in English, with a minor in Creative Writing. A rising fiction author and Sullivan Scholar, Amanda has earned her prominence with two short story publications.
She is currently working on senior research, where she is developing a new genre for semi-independent college students such as herself. She hopes to finish a novel this year to establish this new genre.

In her spare time, Amanda continues to invest in her artistic abilities, where she paints and draws anything that comes to mind. She has won several awards for her art, and hopes to one day become her own illustrator for her bodies of work.

In the future Amanda sees herself as a journalist, where she can help others by informing them of current events. She also wants to continue to create fiction stories and art, for all of her other interests.

Some helpful tips to keep your bike safe at school.

While many students use cars on campus, riding a bike is still one of the most convenient and popular ways to get to class. There’s no need to worry about finding a parking spot, no red lights to be held up from, and no gas tank to fill. With college already as expensive as it is, who has extra money for gas? Some schools even have a ban from freshman bringing cars to campus, which leaves only a few options to get to class. So whether you are looking for a way to save money, or a fast way to get to class, consider bringing a bike to school.

But just like cars, bikes can be stolen too. And at a much faster rate. Why? Because bikes are easy targets, especially at a college campus where they are in great supply.

Here are some tips to protect your bike from thieves:

1. Invest in a good lock

Many students use locks that can be easily tampered with, and while they spend a lot of money on them, they don’t get the right kind. A bike thief is going to look for bikes that are the easiest and quickest to obtain. Locks like this one shown below can be broken in only a few minutes with a pair of pliers.

So what kind should you get? Look for the U-lock.

U-locks cannot be cut with pliers. Which means the bike thief has to carry around a saw to cut through this thing. And who can get away with carrying a saw on campus?

U-locks retail for about $30.00, which can seem pretty pricey. But the more expensive the lock, usually the better protection it will have. And wouldn’t you rather invest in a good lock rather than buy another bike?

These locks come with a key, and when you unlock it, the lock separates into two pieces for you to latch it on to the bike. Which leads us to the next tip…

2. How to lock your bike
Seems like a silly tip to discuss right? But many locks can be removed if they are placed in the wrong spot. If you use a chain lock (which I do not suggest), and pull the lock through the tire to lock it to the stand, the tire can be taken off. And once the tire is removed the rest of the bike is free.

So where should you put the lock? In the frame of the bike.

3. Register your bike

How do you do it? Look for the serial code. A serial code is unique to each bike, and involves a series of letters and numbers. They will be engraved into a part of the bike, usually underneath the frame. So you will have to flip the bike over to find it

Once you have the serial code, write it down, or document it in a computer or safe place. I have mine in my phone. When you get to campus, register your bike with the university or college. This can be done at your school’s law enforcement area, at my school it is called Public Safety. They will list this serial code with your name, so that when it is stolen a report can be made, and the bike can be tracked down. So if your bike is stolen, go to Public Safety and let them know. They will help you file a police report, and if the bike’s serial number is in the police system, they will know who to contact.

Sometimes, not all bikes can be found. Serial codes are only useful if someone is trying to sell the bike. If a bike thief wants to sell the bike to a pawnshop, the shop is required to keep a record of all items with a serial code. They send the list of serial codes to the police regularly, and if your serial code is listed in their system, it will alert the police and they can contact you.

All in all, please consider following these tips if you plan to bring a bike to campus. After losing two bikes myself, I wish I would have known more about the system.

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