Bike theft declining at the University of Arizona

Bike theft on the campus of the University of Arizona is down from the previous two years, according to police officials.

Joe Bermudez, a crime prevention officer who has worked for the University of

Arizona Police Department, expects bike theft, which experienced a 9 percent decrease in last year, to even out in the next couple years.

According to Bermudez, there are between 11,000 and 12,000 bikers on campus, but thieves go after, “The easiest and quickest bikes to steal.”

Over the past six years, the number of bike thefts has fluctuated, reaching a high of 423 reported bike thefts in 2009 and a reported low of 234 in 2007. There have already been a reported 182 bike thefts in 2011, which is on pace for 218 thefts, a 43 percent decrease from last year, and the lowest total in seven years.

In recent years, the University of Arizona has taken many steps to educate students on bike theft and has added a bike valet to park and protect students’ bikes.

The valet, which began at the beginning of the 2010-to-2011 school year and is free, parks approximately 100 bikes a day, said Kevin Conley, an employee for the bike valet.

“Everyone I know has had something done to their bike,” Conley said. “However, no bikes have ever been stolen from this service.”

The success of the bike valet, which is located in front of the Nugent Building on the university’s campus, has led the university to consider opening another one outside of the Eller College of Management.

However, there are other ways to lower the risk of bike theft.

“If you’re going to have a bike on campus, make sure it’s no more than $200,” Bermudez said. “We recommend the U-Lock, but layer these locks. Park it where there is foot traffic and park it in a different spot every day, even if you aren’t using it.”

The UA also recommends that students register bicycles with the university, where they are entered into an online database. If a bike is stolen, the owner can be contacted if it is found, or if the thief attempts to sell it.

While Bermudez admits that there is no way to guarantee a bike not being stolen, he feels that it is a matter of knowledge and education to aid prevention.

Note: This assignment was completed for my Journalism 205: Reporting the News class.