Lock n’ Roll: Precaution, and a good lock, can often prevent bike thefts

By Shane Thatcher, Staff Writer

Like many college and universities, racks of bikes outside academic and residential buildings are a common sight on Baldwin Wallace University’s campus.
Also common, according to Officer Tim Washington, security supervisor for Campus Safety and Security, is overconfidence that those bikes are secure.
“Never take your safety for granted,” he said.
According to Washington, six bikes on campus have been reported stolen this semester between August and Oct. 28. When asked why someone would steal a bicycle, Washington said common reasons include lack of money and time.
“They might want to steal the bike to sell it and get money,” he said. “I just recently talked to someone and they heard of students taking bikes running late to class, taking it from one building to another building and bringing it back. It’s sort of like borrowing a bike.”
While many crimes are crimes of opportunity, meaning to steal something because the opportunity arises, three of the six bicycles stolen this year were locked.
Washington encouraged students to invest in bike locks, and those with flexible locks to lock them tight. A safe precaution student can take is to keep their bicycle in a well-lit area, and to lock the frame and the front tire to the rack. While a lock may not guarantee a bike is secure, it goes a long way, he said. 
“Make it hard to steal. Don’t make it easy by leaving the bike unlocked,” Washington said.
Of the six bicycles reported stolen, two of them were found, one in another bike rack. Since these thefts take place in populated areas, Washington said that it is important for everyone — not just bike owners — to be aware of their surroundings. In the case something seems suspicious, it’s better to be safe than sorry, he said.
“If something doesn’t feel right, report it and let us check it out and have it be nothing, than not report it and have something happen,” he said.
The Rave Alert system is another program where students may find safety. The Rave Alert sends out campus wide warnings via email and text message. It usually sends warnings of school cancellation due to weather conditions, but in the past, has sent alerts about a robbery in Mr. Hero and a dangerous boiler in the Math and Computer Science Building. Students that are not already registered with the program may go to the I.T. Department and register their phone.
BW also offers an engraving program, where students can engrave their belongings to avoid theft, or make identifying a stolen object easier. A variety of personal objects have been engraved, including bicycles, televisions, cell phones, and even tennis shoes.
Overall, Washington said he hopes students are more careful and to avoid leaving their belongings unattended.
“People [are] not paying attention to what’s going on and leaving their stuff laying around,” Washington said. “You guys live in the city of Berea, you guys go to Baldwin Wallace University, they’re both very safe, but you never take the area’s safety for granted. Because anything could happen anytime.”