On an early October morning last year, a bike was pilfered from a rack just outside of the Whitney Center. The owner, Lauren Burch, filed two crime reports with campus security but was met with silence.
The lock was all that was left of Burch’s $400 bike. Burch tried contacting the university again after she received no response for the first report.
“I filed the report again and did not receive an answer, again,” Burch, a junior biology major, said. “This was frustrating because my bike was relatively expensive and there are security cameras that I believe record an image of the bike racks and so the cameras may have recorded the crime occurring.”
In a story previously reported on by The Whit, a rise in bike thefts kicked off the school year. In September of 2016, eight bikes were reported stolen within 48 hours of each other, the majority of those burglaries occurring at the Holly Pointe Commons dorms.
The bike theft dilemma is not a new one on campus, and it’s also not alone in those Clery Crime reports. According to College Crime Watch, the most common crime on college campuses is burglary.
The National Center for Education Statistics found that there were 15,500 burglaries reported between two- and four-year colleges nationally, constituting 56 percent of all crime on campus. Forced sexual assault was the second most reported offense on campus, and motor vehicle theft was the third.
On Rowan’s campus, theft is the most common report Public Safety receives.
In January of this year, 21 reports of theft were logged, one regarding the stealing of some protein powder in Holly Pointe Commons. The case is still open. February contained 24 reports of theft and March had 24 reports, nine of which were bikes or bike parts, and one whiteboard.
With colleges being hotbeds of petty theft, students like Burch are seeking to protect themselves.
“In my case, I would say that I should have kept my bike in my room at night and not outside, as they would obviously eliminate the chance of it being stolen,” she said. “I would advise students to keep their belongings with them on their person or in a secure location at all times.”
AcademicInfo.org compiled a list of tips for students on campus looking for ways to keep belongings safe.
The usual suspects are present on the list: don’t leave doors unlocked, keep valuables out of sight or on your person at all times, lock all windows when leaving the dorm or apartment and so on.
Rowan’s list is more specific to campus life, recommending students avoid isolated areas, don’t carry too many bags at one time, avoid putting both headphones in at the same time and above all, trust your instincts.
Students can also register bikes with Public Safety. Click here to fill out the online registration form.
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