Bike theft

As last Saturday’s Arctic blast reminded us, we are officially in autumn now. Hopefully we have a few more weeks of warm weather before the heavy stuff really kicks in, which means a few more weeks of summer activities like smelling flowers, sitting outside and bicycling. Unfortunately, the bad guys are also taking advantage of the weather, and the campus has recently experienced a rash of bike thefts.

Most of the thefts have occurred on bike racks to bicycles that were either unlocked or secured with a cable locks. Cable locks are certainly preferable to nothing at all, but not by much. They can be defeated in seconds using garden shears or bolt cutters, which are the tools of the trade for a bike thief.

The Case Western Reserve University’s Security and Police Department (CWRU PD) urges anyone bringing a bike to campus to use a U-lock, such as the kind we give out to first year students during orientation. Several companies make them. They all share a steel U-shape that is much harder to cut through than a cable lock. If you are going to invest in a decent bike, invest in a decent lock as well.

There are hundreds of bikes on this campus, so we could use your help keeping an eye on them. If you see someone hanging around a bike rack, pulling on bikes to see if they are secured or possibly in the act of cutting a lock, please call the CWRU PD at 216-368-3333 as soon as possible.

Bike thieves we have caught in the past range from young juveniles to a male in his 50s whom we have arrested at least seven times for bike theft over the past few years. Bicycles, especially unsecured ones, are also sometimes taken from bike rooms in residence halls that people are able to tailgate into, so always lock your bike, even in a bike room.

Let’s enjoy the last few weeks of good weather, and let’s look out for each other—and our bikes.

On the Beat is a weekly safety column written by Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko & Officer Mark (The Crossing Guard) Chavis of CWRU PD. We welcome questions, suggestions and gripes/groans/moans/complaints about campus life at