If you find yourself reporting your bike stolen to the Austin Police Department, chances are you will never see your bike again.
According to the APD, nearly 800 bikes were reported stolen last year, and of those reported, very few made their way back home.
Biomedical engineering sophomore Jeong Ha Choi last saw his bike outside Duren Residence Hall, one of the three most common locations for bike theft on campus. Since the incident, Choi was left with the question many victims of bike theft contemplate — what could I have done to prevent this?
“The thing is, I think it was stolen because I didn’t properly lock it,” Choi said. “I’m pretty sure I pulled an all-nighter that day, and my decision making process was super hazy. Next time, I definitely would not purchase a nice road bike but rather buy the most unattractive, unappealing looking bike imaginable so bike thieves wouldn’t even bother looking at it.”
If you are going to purchase an expensive bike, then the best solution at this point in history when bike thieves are more cunning than ever is to invest in a U-lock. A reliable U-Lock will cost anywhere from $30 to $100, which is a small price to pay for piece of mind according to most formerly bike-owning students.
Sociology sophomore Jacob Rodriguez had not one, but two bikes stolen, in a three-month period.
“The first bike (that) got stolen was outside of San Jacinto Residence Hall, just minding its own business,” Rodriguez said. “I thought it would be a good idea to not use both of my locks. I was wrong. I now have a minor in being sad after my (second) bike got stolen.”
After purchasing another bike, Rodriguez left it outside of 26 West one night and to his dismay, it was stolen once again. He now believes that the best thing students can do to keep their bikes safe is keep it in their homes overnight.
James Douglas, international relations sophomore and former bike owner, said he consistently locked his bike outside University Towers with a cable wrapped around its frame and tires.
“Don’t let up from the cardinal rules, not even once,” Douglas said. “Next time I would keep it inside of my apartment.”
If a student brings a bike to campus, they are required to register their bike with Parking and Transportation Services. Registering a bike with PTS links its unique serial number to its owner. That way, if your bike is reported stolen, UTPD can use the serial number on file to identify your stolen bike in the case that it is sold online.
If you are going to risk parking your overpriced bike on campus, do not leave it in plain sight. No one cares how late you are to you biology class, especially the thief who is about to steal your bike in broad daylight if you fail to lock your bike in-between other bikes.
“The deeper the bike is parked within the middle of campus, the less of a chance of it being stolen,” Choi said. “But honestly, just walk instead.”