UIPD report large increase of on-campus bike thefts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UIPD report large increase of on-campus bike thefts

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Police are issuing a warning that bicyclists are reporting a drastic increase of on-campus thefts of bikes.

The University of Iowa Police Department says there's been nearly 2.5 times as many reports in recent years. In 2017, from January 1 to October 13, UIPD has investigated 74 reports of stolen bikes. In comparison, during that same time period, there was 52 in 2016 and just 29 in 2015.

Police say protecting bikes isn't as easy as just locking it up. They said many of the bikes that were stolen had been locked up, but that they weren't locked up well enough.

"Something we're seeing this year that's new to us is that they will actually mix and match and create a bike there at a bike rack. They'll find a bicycle that's secured just by the front tire and remove the frame, and then find a frame that has an unsecured front tire and they'll actually create a bicycle by doing two thefts essentially," Capt. Mark Bullock, of UIPD, said.

Bullock said it's important to find a sturdy lock that can stand up against bolt cutters. Police recommend using U-Locks. He also said it's important to make sure that the frame of the bike and its front wheel are both secured with the lock.

University of Iowa student, Ryan Hall, had his Blue Surly Disc Trucker bike stolen on Wednesday, October 18. He had secured the front tire using his U-Lock, but the frame wasn't locked with it.

"On my bike rack was just my front wheel," Hall said. The rest of the bike had been taken.

Hall is also running for City Council, and he said a lot of his campaign transportation depended on the bike.

"My bike is really precious to me because it's my only mode of transportation beside my two feet. That bicycle got me across the country last fall when I went from the coast of Oregon to D.C.," Hall said.

For the meantime, a friend has loaned Hall a bike to use. Although Hall would like his bike back, he's said he's not trying to personalize what happened because he said he doesn't find it malicious.

"Theft happens mainly due to economic injustice. Folks are trying to either make money or gain a means of transportation, and I think it speaks to the larger issues at hand," Hall said. One of the larger issues Hall said is the lack of public transportation.

Bullock said they've been able to recover a good number of stolen bikes but that the numbers in thefts aren't slowing down. He said to make the process easier, bicyclists should document identifiable features of their bikes, such as serial numbers, make, and model.

According to Bullock, police are currently working on ways to stop the thefts.

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