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New program has UMPD locking bikes

The officers of the University of Miami Police Department have started locking unsecured bicycles on the Coral Gables campus in an effort to minimize bicycle thefts.

In the past few years, the number of bicyclists on campus has risen along with the number of thefts. Most of the bicycles that have been stolen were not secured to a fixed object or not secured at all, according to UM’s crime prevention officer, John Pepper.

From 2006 until Feb. 28 of this year, 72 bicycles were stolen from campus.

The UM authorities expect the program to have three primary outcomes.

First, there will be fewer unattended and unsecured bicycles around campus, making for fewer “easy targets” for thieves to steal.

The second outcome, says Pepper, is that bicyclists will need to contact UMPD to have their bicycle unlocked, which will encourage them to secure their bicycle properly in the future.

Finally, Pepper said that if during the release process a police officer discovers that the bicyclist has not been issued a free U-Lock, UMPD will issue them one to make sure they now have the means to properly secure their bicycle.

“At first I was bothered when I got to my bike and had to wait for the police to unlock it, but I would rather that then no bike,” sophomore Nicholas Cavallo said.

The locks that the UMPD is using for the initiative are the same locks used for the free bicycle U-Lock and registration program. The only difference is that they are painted red and are specially marked.

“The idea was proposed and implemented by the University of Miami Police Department in an effort to reduce the number of bicycle thefts on campus,” Pepper said.

He continued to say that despite all the efforts that UMPD is making to reduce and completely stop bicycle thefts, “the bicycle theft rate is not declining.”

Although UM police heavily promote the availability of free bicycle locks, as well as bicycle theft prevention strategies, many students, faculty and staff still leave their bicycles unlocked. Numerous theft reports even cite that victims had a UMPD U-Lock at the time of theft but were not using it.

U-style bicycle locks are nine times more effective at preventing theft than traditional cable or chain locks, according to a statement released by UMPD. When you secure your bicycle to a designated bike rack, UMPD suggests securing the lock around a portion of the bicycle that can’t be easily removed (i.e. the frame).

A helpful tip offered to students, faculty and staff is to never leave your bicycle unattended or unsecured, even if it’s just for a short time. Bicycles must be secured to designated bicycle racks. It is against university policy to secure your bicycle to anything else.

To get a U-Lock, bring your bicycle and valid Cane Card to the UM Police Dispatch Center on the ground floor of the Flipse Building, next to the Ponce Garage, or go to www.miami.edu/police, click on the bicycle link under the bicycle registration section.

If you are witness to bicycle theft or have any questions regarding this policy, call the UMPD Crime Prevention Office at 305-284-1105.

March 8, 2009

Reporters

Johnathan Beauchamps

Contributing News Writer


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