Thirty-one students have reported their bicycles stolen in the eight weeks since the semester started, according to Sacramento State Police Department crime logs. (Rin Carbin - The State Hornet)
Thirty-one students have reported their bicycles stolen in the eight weeks since the semester started, according to Sacramento State Police Department crime logs.

Rin Carbin - The State Hornet

Bicycle thefts at Sac State on the rise

October 25, 2017

This story has been updated with the number of bicycles stolen from Jenkins Hall, the number of bicycles stolen from the bike compounds during staffed hours and the progress of bicycle racks being moved from The WELL to a more visible location.


When senior kinesiology major Kelsey Pope went to pick up her bicycle from The WELL’s bicycle parking last month, she found that someone had cut her cable lock and ran off with her brand new ride.

“I felt super violated,” Pope said. “I was ready to be done with Sacramento and Sac State in general. School’s supposed to be a safe place.”

The $350 bicycle, bought only three days before being stolen, was just one of 31 that had been reported stolen in the eight weeks since the fall 2017 semester started. Pope had only left her bicycle at The WELL for an hour and a half — from the time she started class at 1:30 p.m. to when she walked to the bicycle parking after class ended at 2:45 p.m.

In recent weeks, the Sacramento State Police Department has reported an increase in on-campus bicycle thefts.

But how much is the increase relative to other semesters, and where are the thefts taking place?

What’s the difference?

In the eight weeks since this fall semester started, 31 bicycles, including one TerraTrike, have been reported stolen at Sacramento State and at the Upper Eastside Lofts (UEL), a Sac State affiliated student apartment complex on Folsom Boulevard according to Sacramento State Police Department crime logs.

Comparatively, 29 bicycles had been reported stolen throughout the entirety of the past spring semester, which was 17 weeks long.

While there is not yet an official count of how many students ride their bicycles to campus this semester, University Transportation and Parking Services Director Tony Lucas said that he has noticed bicycling to be more prevalent this semester and estimated between 1,700 and 1,800 students ride their bikes to campus each day.

The official count for the spring 2017 semester is 950 students on average who bike to campus per day.  Lucas said that the exceptionally rainy weather that occurred while collecting the data could have deterred some students from bicycling, and the count for spring semesters typically ranges from 1,700 to 2,000 bicyclists per day.

Compared with the current semester’s rate of 31 reported bicycle thefts in eight weeks, the 2016 fall semester saw 39 throughout those 16 weeks.

Comparing the halfway (8 weeks) mark across fall 2017, 2016, 2015

While the eight-week mark in fall 2016 and fall 2015 were similar (17 and 15 bicycles reported stolen, respectively), the eight-week mark for the current fall semester saw an increase of nine bicycles stolen, with the total number this semester at 31.

Compared with the fall 2016 and fall 2015 semesters, The WELL, Desmond Hall and Yosemite Hall areas have also seen an increase in bicycle thefts.

Eight weeks into the fall 2016 semester, three bicycles were stolen from The WELL, two from Desmond Hall and one from Yosemite Hall. In the current fall 2017 semester, five bicycles have been stolen from The WELL, five from Desmond Hall and one from Yosemite Hall. Eight weeks into the fall 2015 semester, two bicycles were stolen from The WELL and none were stolen from Desmond and Yosemite Halls.

New to this semester, compared with the past two years, is the addition of bicycle thefts at Folsom Hall, which had two bicycles reported stolen this semester but none in the two years prior.

Where have bicycles been stolen this semester?

As Pope learned from the responding police officer, she had parked her bicycle at one of the most popular place for bicycle thieves to target: The WELL, right beside Peak Adventures near an Associated Students Inc. (ASI) owned shop that offers bicycle repairs, maintenance and training.

The WELL has the highest rate of reported bicycle thefts so far this semester, with five being reported. The WELL also claimed the highest rate of thefts last spring semester with six bicycles reported stolen.

The WELL also has the overall highest rates of theft in the past year with 14 bicycles reported stolen and in the past two years with 21.

Sacramento State Police Chief Mark Iwasa said that the reason for the high rate of thefts at The WELL is due to the location of some of the bicycle racks on the northern side of the building, which are hidden from many passersby.

The bicycle racks are in the progress of being moved to a more frequented and visible location, according to Iwasa.

Campus living not so fun for bicyclists

Desmond Hall, a dormitory near the newly constructed Riverview Hall dorms, tied with The WELL for highest rate of reported bicycle thefts this semester with five since classes started.

However, in the past, the neighboring Jenkins Hall has been on par with or seen more reported bicycle thefts than Desmond Hall.

In the past year, Jenkins Hall saw nine bicycles stolen while Desmond Hall saw eight bicycles stolen.

In the past two years, Jenkins Hall had the most bicycles reported stolen with 18, compared with Desmond Hall’s 11.

The two dormitories have also alternated between highest and lowest rates of reported bicycle thefts each semester for the past two years — some semesters see none, or only one bicycle stolen, but others see five or six.

 

Rin Carbin – The State Hornet
According to Sacramento State Police Department crime logs, bicycle thefts between Jenkins and Desmond Halls alternate between many and few to none each semester in the past four semesters.

The reason for the high rate of bicycle thefts at both Jenkins and Desmond Halls is that students who live in student housing often leave their bicycles at the racks overnight when thieves are most active, Iwasa said.

Upper Eastside Lofts, the Sac State affiliated off-campus student apartment complex located on Folsom Boulevard and 65th Street, is also a target for bicycle thieves for the same reason.

So far, three bicycles have been reported stolen from UEL this semester. 18 bicycles were reported stolen from UEL in the past two years, matching Jenkins Hall’s theft rates and topping Desmond Halls’ bicycle theft rates.

“Thieves like the cover of night — they try to steal the bikes at night,” Iwasa said. “The res halls and the lofts are areas where students will house their bikes overnight.”

As for the fluctuating rate of bicycle thefts at the two halls, Iwasa said it is due to thieves who find an exploit and take advantage of it multiple times until they are caught by campus police.

Iwasa said he is working with the residence halls’ administration to create more bicycle compounds similar to the wooden one outside Riverview Hall along State University Drive, which is accessible only to certain residential students and  near a high traffic area.

Due to heavy construction around the area, however, Iwasa said it may be some time before more residence hall bicycle compounds are built.

To park in the bicycle compounds or not

According to Iwasa, the bicycle compounds are one of the most secure places on campus to park bicycles.

Along with useful tools for bicyclists such as air pumps, the bicycle compounds are staffed from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and are located in high traffic areas.

So far, the main bicycle compounds — Bike Compound #1, Bike Compound #2 and Bike Compound #3 — have had zero reports of theft this semester.

While the compounds provide useful help and security for bicyclists, they are not completely foolproof.

In the past year, three bicycles were reported stolen from the compounds around campus, and two were stolen from the Jenkins Bike Compound. In the past two years, that number increases to 10 bicycles.

Bike Compound #1, located by the Guy West Bridge, has had the highest rate of reported bicycle thefts among the compounds in the past year and past two years, with two and six bicycles reported stolen, respectively.

The cause for Bike Compound #1’s high rate of reported bicycle thefts is due to the spring 2016 semester when three bicycles were reported stolen from the area.

Bike Compound #3, located by the tennis courts, and the Jenkins Bike Compound each had two bicycles reported stolen in the past two years.

Bicycle Compound #2, located by the Academic Information Resource Center and Benicia Hall, has not had any reported bicycle thefts in the past two years.

Of all reported thefts in the bicycle compounds since their construction, only one has occurred during staffed hours.

Of the reported thefts, about two occurred during staffed hours.

What can students do if their bicycle is stolen?

According to Sacramento State Police Department Chief Mark Iwasa, stolen bicycles aren’t usually returned unless they’re registered at one of the three bicycle compounds around campus.

“It’s virtually impossible to recover a bike — there’s no quick way to cross reference a bike that’s stolen,” Iwasa said. “Even if you identify the bike’s make or color, you still have to provide something else identifiable about the bike.”

When students register their bicycles with the Sacramento State Police Department at one of the three bicycle compounds located around campus or at the main Public Safety building, they provide their bikes’ serial numbers, which Iwasa says most students would otherwise not know.

But, as with all thefts, the stolen item needs to be found in the first place.

Pope, despite knowing her bicycle’s serial number, was unable to recover hers and had to pay for a new one — this time at a 20 percent discount after she told the bicycle shop what had happened.

How can students mitigate the chance of their bicycles being stolen?

In addition to using the bicycle compounds and registering, Iwasa advised students to invest in a metal U-lock, which while not unbreakable, will at least take longer and be more inconvenient for a thief to break.


For more information, contact the Sacramento State Police Department.

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  • DavidSep 6, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    My son’s bike was stolen on September 5th 2018 at upper east side lofts when he unlocked it so that painters could paint the fence outside his apt. In th span of an hour, the thief had jumped the fence and took the bike in broad daylight. How does somebody Not see that

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