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Recent Increase in Bike and Other Thefts on Campus
June 25, 2021

Over the past couple of weeks, as more students and staff have returned to campus, we have noticed an increase in thefts.

These have included four reported bike thefts, several attempts to break into parked vehicles, and an Amazon package taken from the porch of a Catalina apartment unit.

An increase in our bike riding population has made the bicycles parked on campus a target for local thieves. The incidents have occurred during both daytime and evening hours. Currently, we have no suspect descriptions. In an effort to increase the safety and security of the campus and the surrounding areas we would like to share some information regarding these recent events and suggestions for how community members can decrease their risk of being the victim of a crime.

It has been found that in the vast majority of bicycle thefts, bicycles were unlocked, improperly locked, or locked with inadequate locking devices, such as lightweight cables or chains, or low-quality U-lock devices. Bicycling.com rates the Kryptonite New York STD and the OnGuard Brute STD 8001 as two of the best locks on the market. They run from $50.00 to $130.00. Masterlock has a u-lock that is available for around $16.00. It was the least secure of the locks Bicycle.com reviewed but was still considered an improvement over a chain or cable lock.

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a20017112/best-bike-locks/#u_locks

The following tips may be helpful to deter bicycle theft:

  • Always lock your bicycle through the frame and both wheels to a bicycle parking rack, preferably a rack with a thicker frame.
  • Lock all free parts of the bicycle as well, or take them with you. If you lock only the front wheel you may return to find only the front wheel. Suspects are often creative in their approach; if they are unable to steal the bike, they may try to take any valuable parts.
  • Always carry a secure lock whenever you plan to leave your bicycle unattended.
  • The "U"-shaped locks have proven to be the most effective; however, like all locks or chains, they can be defeated. Use a high-end U-shaped lock to reduce the chances of the lock being defeated.
  • Leave your bicycle in a visible, well-lit area. Avoid leaving your bicycle locked outside overnight.
  • Always use designated bike racks rather than light poles, railings, benches, or other unsecured objects.

In response to these thefts, we have increased both foot and vehicle patrols. Contact Security to report any suspicious persons. Do not confront them.

In addition, we ask for your help in making the campus as safe as possible by taking the following steps:

  • Lock and secure your vehicle when you park.
  • Do not leave valuables or packages in plain view in your vehicle.
  • Report to Security individuals who "tailgate" or enter secure buildings and restricted areas without keys or the proper credentials by slipping in behind someone else.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you, day and night.
  • Trust your instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, get out or get away.
  • If you feel you are being followed, move to a well-populated or lighted area or building.
  • If you need emergency help, call x5000 on campus (626-395-5000 if you are off campus), or call 911.

Thank you for your vigilance,

Caltech Campus Security