Bike thefts on campus on the rise to start semester


Bike thefts have been on the rise on campus since the start of the school year. Last week, eight bikes were reported stolen within 48 hours, according to Rowan Public Safety. Six of the cases are still open at the present time, while two have been closed.

Of those six unsolved thefts, three happened at Holly Pointe Commons, said Lt. Shute of the public safety department  The remaining three incidents occurred at Robinson Hall, the Recreation Center and Rowan Boulevard Apartments.

Rowan Police are also asking for help identifying suspects in the Rowan Boulevard theft. One of the suspects, who was allegedly wearing a blue shirt at the time of the theft, is believed to be between 15 and 17 years old and a local resident of Glassboro. Another suspect, who allegedly covered his face, is believed to be between 17 and 19 years old.

Bike thefts are not a recent problem on Rowan’s campus. During the 2014-15 school year, bikes were also stolen from campus in large numbers. The bike rack behind Whitney Center led the way with seven thefts; Rowan Boulevard and Triad each had five; and Science Hall and Chestnut Hall each had four, according to documents provided by Shute.

Justin Fraser, a junior double major in geographic information services and music, had his bike stolen recently. He said that he reported the theft to public safety and ended up confronting one of the thieves directly to get his bike back. Fraser also had his bike stolen again after that but got it back much quicker the second time.

“I’m just happy I got my bike back twice,” Fraser said.

Students looking for an extra layer of protection against having their bike stolen can register it with public safety. Students put their personal information and bike details on a form, which is then uploaded to the master list. While not 100 percent effective, it can be a good way to get a head start on recovering stolen bikes.

-Photo Courtesy of Rowan Public Safety
-Photo Courtesy of Rowan Public Safety

Shute said bike thefts are something the force has been dealing with for some time.

“[Bike theft] is the number one crime on campuses across the United States,” Shute said. “Last year in 2015 we actually put out memos because we experienced such a high number of thefts, and we also tracked a map of where the bikes are stolen.”

Shute said that U-bar locks are an excellent way to keep bikes from being stolen and are a much more effective deterrent than wire or pin locks, which can be easily popped off or cut.

“Watch where you park your bikes,” Shute said. “If you see something, say something. If college kids are walking through the campus, we have code blue phones. You can call the non-emergency (856) 256-4922.”

“If you see somebody kicking on a bicycle, or trying to remove a bicycle, call public safety,” he continued. “The university police officers will head out, the security officers will head out. The more we can get these kids off campus, the better off we’re gonna be to have a friendly bike environment for everybody.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Lt. Shute said they identified one of the suspects is the Rowan Boulevard theft mentioned above.

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