Bike Theft Doubles at CWU

Ray Payne, Staff Reporter

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A stolen bike  is an increasingly common problem on CWU’s campus.

“Obviously we’ve got real concerns when it comes to bike theft being doubled in the same time frame this year as it was in 2015,” said Central Washington University Police Chief, Mike Luvera.

According to CWU’s police department, there have been 49 reports of bike theft on campus since Jan 1 of this year.

This is more than double that of the last three years of bike thefts.

“Looking back over the five years it goes up and down, but I don’t think it’s ever been as high as it is in 2016,” Luvera said.

In 2013 it was 12 thefts in the same time frame as this year, in 2014 it was 21 and last year it was 23.

A rate increase like this would lead one to believe that this as trend, however due to there being such a high rate in 2012 (37), Luvera sees it as otherwise.

“Trend as far the thefts go, yes, trend over a period of years, no, I think this high number has been the outset or the outlier,” Luvera said.

So far the police do not have any leads as to what is the cause of this high number of thefts. Nothing has led them to believe that this is one person or a group of people.

One student, Grayson Long, sophomore, psychology, had his bike stolen on Nov 14.

“I was doing laundry about 11 p.m., last night, went to bed, got up, walked downstairs went to where I left it, and it was just gone,” Long said.

On Nov 15, Long’s bike was stolen. Unlike some students who would be away from their bikes for longer periods of time, Long hadn’t even been away from his bike for more than 24 hours.

Long’s cable lock was cut and taken along with the bike. The bike was in a visible area, and near his residence hall.

As far as Long knows, no student witnessed the bike theft and he has no idea who did it.

Long’s roommate, Alexander Harvey, freshman, undecided also had his bike stolen this year but eventually found in downtown Ellensburg.

Long found Harvey’s bike at Jack in a Box with the serial number scratched off.

Although his bike wasn’t registered with the campus police department, he promptly reported it to them.

“I was put into a dedicated room with a police officer just one on one, and he wrote down all things I had to say,” Harvey said.

Although to him it felt like there was not much police could do to find the culprit, Harvey did believe that campus did the best with what they had.

Like Long, Harvey’s bike was also secured with a cable lock, and after the experience, he doesn’t feel like cable locks are good enough security measure for his bike.

Luvera was able offer some advice to students looking to protect their bikes from theft.

Registering your bike and using a U-Lock and paying attention to the status of your bike was among the best tips for protecting bikes on campus.

Even with these measures, bike theft can occur relatively quickly.

“Thefts have always been our number one crimes,” Luvera said.

With the current data present, there is no way to narrow down the thefts to one area. Nor is there a common time of day that thefts occur making it very difficult to pinpoint a trend or suspects.

As the bike thefts on campus continue to occur, CWU Police Department will keep a look out and try prevent them in the future.

“We take all of our calls for service serious and bike theft is no different, this is something we are looking at,” Luvera said.  “We are looking at the stats and the numbers and the data and we are trying to come up with some creative ways in which to combat it and we’re asking the community to help us do that.”  

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Bike Theft Doubles at CWU