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Preventing Bike Theft

Bike Theft: Realities and Risks

Members of the University of Colorado community know the effects of bike theft, as it is the number one crime that occurs on campus each day. Bicycle theft has become a tremendous problem on college campuses and the Boulder campus is no exception. Bicycles and bicycle parts including seats and “quick release” wheels are in big demand and thieves are well equipped and well organized.

There are numerous bike racks strategically located around campus that are available to the campus community for safe bike storage during all hours of the day. These bike racks are typically in public locations where theft is obvious and rarely occurs. If, however, a bike is parked or locked at a location other than these racks—for instance, attached to a tree or street sign—theft is more likely to occur. Thieves look for the quick and easy steal rather than the difficult steal. To avoid bike theft one of the first things you can do is lock your bike at a university-approved bike rack.

Parking bicycles in corridors, stairwells, and exit pathways is prohibited in all campus buildings. This disrupts the flow of people through buildings and causes an unnecessary threat if an incident were to occur.

Make It Hard To Steal

It has been found that in the vast majority of bicycle thefts, bicycles were either unlocked, improperly locked, or locked with inadequate locking devices such as lightweight cables or chains or low-quality U-lock devices.

You should always carry a secure lock whenever you plan to leave your bicycle unattended. The U-locks have proven to be most effective, but like all locks they can be defeated. Use a high-end U-lock to reduce the chances of your lock being defeated. You should always exercise care in where and how you lock your bike.

Always lock your bicycle through its frame and both wheels to an approved bicycle parking rack, preferably one with a thick frame. Lock all free parts of the bicycle as well or take them with you. If you lock only the front wheel to the bike lock you may return to find your bike gone and only that wheel remaining. Leave your bicycle in a visible, well lit area and if possible avoid leaving your bike locked overnight.

Registering Your Bike (It's free)

The university encourages you to register your bike at the CU Bike Station east of the University Memorial Center. You can also register your bike online at this Parking & Transportation Services link (after logging in, click on "Manage Your Vehicles: Add Bicycle.") Registering discourages theft and aids in identification should your bike get stolen. In addition, any personalization on your bike (stickers, markings, etc.) should be documented and kept in case your bike is stolen. This will make it easier for police to identify. All of this information should be stored and saved along with purchase receipts, manufacturer’s information, and a photograph of the bicycle.

Reporting Theft

If your bicycle is stolen on campus you should report the crime immediately to the CU Police Department. Providing the police with descriptive information such as the serial number and your registration number—if you registered with the university—increases the chance of recovery.

To report the theft of a bicycle contact UCPD at 303-492-6666.

What You Should Do

If you believe that your bike has been stolen or impounded, you should contact the CU Police Department at 303-492-6666.

If you happen to witness a bike theft, either by force or stealth, dial 911 immediately and inform the dispatcher where you are and what is happening. Try to remember as much as you can about the suspect for police reports.

If you suspect that someone has stolen your bike, do not directly confront them because an incident may occur. Contact CU Police and give them as much information as possible. You can never be entirely sure that a suspect has stolen your bike because many bikes look the same and many people have the same bike.

And remember, if you lock your bike tightly and securely with a U-lock, your chances of being the victim of a bike theft will be substantially lower.

For a printable PDF brochure of this information, click here.