Register, u-lock bikes to prevent theft

A cut bike lock on the ground outside Goodnow Hall after the recent increase of bike theft. (Nathan Jones | The Collegian)

The K-State Police Department sent out a reminder to students earlier this month to purchase quality locks for their bikes:

“Over that previous weekend (before Nov. 5), there were several bikes stolen in a short time period,” Maj. Don Stubbings, assistant director of the campus police, said.

According to Stubbings, the number of bicycle thefts has stayed about the same throughout the previous year.

“It goes in waves,” Stubbings said. “Some weeks there are none, and then when we do have bike thefts there is usually more than one.”

Stubbings said keeping a record of a bike’s serial number and registering it with the K-State Parking Services are the best ways to assist authorities in recovering a stolen bike.

Darwin Abbott, director of K-State Parking Services, said there are two ways that students can register their bikes. The first is by filling out the bicycle registration form online and submitting it. Parking Services will then contact the student when the permit is then ready to be picked up.

“If you have your bicycle, or just the serial number and general data from your bicycle, you can also do it in person and get a permit as soon as you register it and walk out with the permit,” Abbott said.

According to Abbott, there is a serial number embedded into the metal on almost every bike. He said having the bike’s serial number on file helps identify the bike when recovered to return it to the original owner.

A file of bicycles that are stolen is also kept at Big Poppi Bicycle Company, according to co-owner Aaron Apel.

“We have recovered tons of bikes over the last few years,” Apel said. “People can come down here and fill out a little report about bicycles that are stolen and we will keep our eyes out for those bicycles. If somebody tries to bring the stolen bike in for repair, we can actually get it returned to the rightful owner.”

According to Apel, Big Poppi Bicycle Company offers three different lock protection levels to their buyers. The first level is a simple cable lock, also known as a basic entry-level lock.

“We generally don’t suggest that people buy a shop-quality bike and protect it with this kind of lock,” Apel said. “It can be very easily cut with a simple pair of hand cable cutters.”

The second-level lock is an armored lock. According to Apel, this lock is a better option and is very similar to the cable lock, except there is a stainless steel armored shell around it that adds an extra level of protection.

The final lock the shop offers is what is called a “u-lock,” or a stainless steel bar lock that is in the shape of a “U.”

“They are very difficult to break,” Apel said. “You basically have to have power tools to get through something like that.”

Customers, however, do not always take Apel’s advice to buy a higher quality lock.

“We often encourage our bike buyers to be at least at that second level if not at the third level of protection,” Apel said. “It is interesting that most people will come in and spend $300, $400 or $500 on a bike but they are unwilling to spend $30 on a lock. To me, that is a little backwards.”

Stubbings said if students see something suspicious, they can call campus police at 785-532-6412 or send tips through the LiveSafe smartphone app. He also said that students can send confidential tips through the Silent Witness website.