Twenty bicycles were reported stolen or missing to ACU police in 2012, two more than in 2011.
Fourteen of these 20 bikes were reported stolen in the fall semester alone. Eleven were stolen from university property and three were stolen from other areas in Abilene.
One problem area was Smith-Adams; five bikes were reported stolen from the off-campus residence hall last semester. Hao Zhe Kok and Jonathan Teoh, Smith-Adams residents, are among those who lost their bikes to thievery. They said they were caught off-guard by the thefts.
Kok, sophomore computer science major from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said he thought his bike would be safe at ACU.
“I am disappointed that such a thing could happen in Abilene,” Kok said.
Teoh, sophomore exercise science major from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, did not file a police report. He said he was surprised someone thought his bike was worth stealing.
“I never thought people would be so desperate to steal a bike with flat tires and no air,” Teoh said.
Jimmy Ellison, ACU police chief and director of public safety, said more often than not, bike theft is committed by off-campus individuals who need transportation or are trying to make a quick dollar. He said victims should always file a police report.
“If you don’t file a police report, you stand zero chance of getting your bike back,” Ellison said. “If we have that information, it enables us to identify a trend or a pattern. It gives us a more accurate picture of what’s happening on campus.”
In 2010, the ACU police saw a spike in bike theft. Forty bikes were stolen in the fall semester alone.
“That year, we did some targeted patrols, increased staffing and some specific surveillance operations around problem areas,” Ellison said. “We ended up making a couple arrests and recovering some of those bicycles. Once we did that, we noticed that our numbers went back down to average.”
Ellison said that while ACU police do as much investigative follow-up as they can, some crimes simply won’t be solved, especially if the police don’t have the necessary details.
“It’s critical for people to know the brand name and serial number of their bike,” Ellison said. “If you know those things, we can enter that bike into a computer, we can go around and check all the local pawn shop records to see if that serial number has been sold or pawned.”
Most serial numbers are on the bottom of a bicycle, near where the pedals meet. In addition to recording the serial number, brand and model, owners may also want to take a picture of their bike.
“Students could, to reduce the risk of a bike theft, always lock the bike if it’s not being used, and make sure it’s a quality lock,” Ellison said. “If you see somebody that’s hanging around a bike rack, or acting suspicious around a bike rack or taking multiple bikes off a rack and looking at them, there wouldn’t seem to be a legitimate reason for that. When you see that type of activity, call ACU police and report it.”
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