Bicycle thefts see hefty increase

The number of bicycles reported stolen on campus saw a dramatic increase this year, prompting the University Police Department to encourage students to purchase sturdier bike locks.

More than 40 bikes have been reported stolen to UPD from Jan. 1 through Sept. 20, a 37 percent increase from the same time last year. Last year, 30 bicycles had been stolen from Jan. 1 through September.

“We pushed out an advisory last week to try and increase awareness, have more people secure their bikes with stout locks and report suspicious activity at the bike racks,” UPD Chief Kevin Hay said.

On average, four to five bicycles are stolen per month, Hay added. Most recently, the quad at the GW Law School has been hit, with eight bikes reported stolen from the area.

“We encourage students, faculty and staff to call in suspicious behavior around the bicycle racks,” Hay said.

Since January, a variety of makes and models of bicycles has been stolen with no discernible pattern, Hay said. The most popular type of bicycle stolen has been the Trek brand. Other brands like Cannondale, Schwinn and Diamondback have also been reported stolen. The majority of bicycles have been nondescript in color, with an average estimated value of $390, Hay said.

According to a Metropolitan Police Department report, on Sept. 13 a male GW student living in Alexandria, Va., parked his bike near South Hall and it was stolen later that day. The 7-year-old GT Avalanche bike was valued by MPD at $300.

A more recent incident Sept. 23 involved a male GW student who locked his bike to a cable rail outside the Elliott School of International Affairs. According to MPD’s report of the case, the complainant said he locked the bike with a cable-key lock, but when he returned an hour and a half later, his mountain bike, lock and helmet were missing. MPD valued the 3-year-old bike at $200 and the other items at $50 total.

Hay said UPD is “taking measures to catch the thieves,” but would not go into detail about those measures.

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