Five bicycles were stolen from the north side of campus Nov. 15, according to the Department of Public Safety crime logs. Only one other bicycle was reported stolen during the month.
Two of the bikes were stolen from the Jonathan Nelson ’77 Fitness Center and the three others were on Pembroke Green, though it is unknown if the incidents were perpetrated by the same person or group, said Chief of Police Mark Porter.
The bike thief “severed the cable lock with a cutting device” in all incidents, the report stated. “We know that cable locks can be cut off rather easily,” Porter said.
To protect bikes from theft, a “quality U lock that locks through the bike frame” is preferable to a cable lock that can be cut, said Amanda Resch, who works at Legend Bicycle on Brook Street. Cyclists should also make sure they lock their bikes to a sturdy structure so thieves cannot rip the bicycle and lock off of something weak, such as a wooden staircase, she added.
DPS offers a program to swap cable locks for U locks, and it has issued about 205 U locks to students this year, Porter said.
Austen Sharpe ’18 had her bike stolen from the backyard of her off-campus house a few weeks ago. She locked her bike on campus with a cable lock for three years without any issues, but the lock was cut in the middle of the night at her residence, she said.
Bike thefts are “a growing trend across college campuses,” Porter said. To combat the thefts, DPS has increased officer patrols around bike racks to “create more officer visibility” around the bikes. On a recent patrol, officers apprehended and stopped a potential bike theft, he added.
The department also created a map of the various bike racks around campus in collaboration with Bikes at Brown to document where bikes are stolen most often and direct the officer patrols to those vulnerable areas, Porter said. Overall, more thefts occur on the north side of campus but there is “nothing today that indicates why that occurs,” he added.