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by Jim Patterson | Posted on Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2012 — 10:14 AM
A few careful steps could help anyone on the Vanderbilt campus with a bicycle to frustrate thieves who’ve been active this semester, said a Vanderbilt University Police Department official.
“The biggest problem is the use of cable or chain locks that are easily broken with small bolt cutters,” said Lt. Rochelle M. Waddell, a community relations and victim service officer at VUPD.
“Using a case-hardened ‘U’ lock to secure the bike frame to a bike rack will stop the majority of bike thieves, although no lock is 100 percent effective,” she said.
“U” locks can be purchased at the Vanderbilt bookstore.
Waddell also recommended that bicycles be secured in well-lit areas and to separately secure components and accessories, such as quick-release wheels or seats.
Seventy bicycle thefts have been recorded so far in 2012 on the Vanderbilt campus. VUPD has implemented an expanded strategy to combat bicycle thefts, Waddell said.
Initiatives to increase patrols of bicycle racks on campus, around the medical center and at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks have been implemented.
A flier was created for patrol officers to distribute around campus, showing the correct way to secure bicycles with a U-style lock and providing the Web address to register bicycles with VUPD through an effort called Operation ID. These fliers also have been posted on bulletin boards across campus.
Detectives are monitoring pawn shops, Craigslist, eBay and local flea markets in the hopes of locating stolen bicycles, and VUPD continues its ongoing investigations of leads.
Investigators have been attending weekly Metro Nashville Police Department and Crimestoppers meetings and sharing the information from the thefts with other universities and surrounding jurisdictions.
VUPD asks anyone who brings a bicycle to campus to register the bike on the VUPD website. The registration is free and is used to help alert bicycle owners of potential problems with their bicycles or to return lost or stolen bikes to their rightful owners.
If you observe suspicious activity on campus or near a bike rack, call VUPD at (615) 322-2745.
Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS
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