Registering a bicycle with the CSU Police Department could be more important than many students may think, according to the Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program (BEEP).
“The most important part about registering your bike (with the CSU police) is that it records the serial number of the bike into a database,” said Valeri Rudden, assistant supervisor of BEEP.
By registering your bike with the police, the bike’s serial number is put into a database, which is accessible to Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado, Rudden said.
“If someone tries to take (a stolen bike) to a pawn shop the owner will run the serial number and find out the bike is stolen,” Rudden said.
Bike theft is a big problem on campus, said Joan Williams, the records manager at the CSUPD.
“(The frequency of bicycle theft) goes up and down from year to year (here at CSU),” said Williams.
In 2002, there were 125 reported cases of bicycle theft at CSU, 175 in 2001 and 104 in 2000, Williams said.
“Property crimes in general are the biggest problem at CSU,” Williams said. “Bikes are an easy target (for theft on campus).”
Because bikes are an easy target for theft, other databases can be used for registering and possibly recovering one’s bicycle.
Spencer Moore, director of public relations for the National Bike Registry, suggests that all bike owners register their bicycles into the National Bike Registry database.
“The National Bike Registry is the only nationwide database available to law enforcement today,” Moore said.
Most stolen bicycles are never returned to the rightful owners, Moore said.
“Fifty percent of all stolen bikes are found by the police departments, but only 3 percent are returned,” Moore said. “(This is) due to the inability to track the bikes.”
By registering your bike in the National Bike Registry, police departments around the country can track any stolen bike they receive, Moore said.
“The city police don’t have the time or the staff to track down (stolen bike serial numbers), but if the bike is registered, then it’s easy,” Moore said.
Ben Floreck, a junior liberal arts major, understands how fast a bike can be stolen here on campus.
“I have had two bikes stolen from me since I have been here,” said Floreck. “Freshman year, my bike had a flat tire, so my roommate loaned me his (bike) to ride to class. I locked (the bike) up and when I came out from class the lock was the only thing left on the rack.”
The bike was never returned, despite having been registered with CSUPD.
“We reported it to the CSU police but it never turned up,” said Floreck. “I guess sometimes there isn’t much you can do.”
Protecting yourself from bike theft can start right at the rack, though. Often, students will only lock the front tire of the bike to the rack, allowing people to remove the front tire and leave with the rest of the bike, Rudden said.
“Always use a U-Lock with a combination of a cable lock (for locking the entire bike to the rack), and always have (the bike) locked to a bike rack,” she said.