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The number of bike thefts on campus has increased this year, according to Chief of Public Safety Mark Porter.

There have been 25 reported bike thefts so far this year, while only 13 were reported in 2009. Five cases were reported in November alone, including three bikes taken from a single dorm room. Once a theft is reported, Department of Public Safety officers review footage from cameras installed in the area where the bike was stolen to see if anything was captured on video, Porter said. DPS maintains records of bike thefts and their locations on a map, Porter added.

This year, there have been no bikes recovered after being reported stolen to DPS this year, said Porter.  

Porter said the main difficulty with bike theft is that stolen bikes are not usually registered in the DPS bike registration system.

"DPS told me they really can't do much, because (the bike) was not registered," said Seth Mohney '11, whose bike was stolen from in front of Miller Hall in 2009. "It was really bizarre," he added, because he found his bike in front of Barbour Hall after two weeks.

When bikes are registered with DPS, the name of the owner is engraved on the bike, allowing DPS to trace a lost or stolen bike back to its owner if it is found, Porter said. In addition, DPS will break the lock on a registered bike if its owner loses the key to the lock. Students, faculty, staff and even some Rhode Island School of Design students are currently registered, Porter added.

Mohney said his chain lock was not secure enough to prevent his bike from being stolen, and he now uses a U-shaped lock.  

According to Porter, bikes are often found improperly secured with weak or damaged locks and cables. When a bike is registered, DPS shows the owner how to properly secure the bike and recommends the proper type of lock to purchase, he said.

DPS also recommends that bikes not be secured to wooden fences or parking meters because they do not offer much protection, said Porter. Instead, bikes should be secured to a bike rack or a fence. Bike owners should also take photos of their bikes for police use and insurance purposes, in case they are stolen, he added.


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