With the summer riding season coming up, Division of Public Safety officials are intent on stamping out bike crime on campus.
As a city with a very high student population, Philadelphia has become notorious in recent years as a bike theft hotspot.
Bike lock manufacturer Kryptonite publishes a "Top 10 Worst Cities for Bike Theft List" on its blog every year, and Philadelphia is its reigning champion.
Before last year, New York had been top of the list every year since it started nine years ago.
There are two main reasons for bicycle theft on campus, Penn Police Capt. Joe Fischer said.
"The first is that people simply do not secure their bike, and the second is that they have secured it with a cable lock," he said.
Part of the problem is that bike theft is not considered a "serious crime," Fisher explained, and as such it will usually never result in incarceration.
"That means most of the people who we arrest for stealing bikes on campus are serial offenders, who we've arrested several times in the past," Fischer said.
But there are also measures students can take to secure their bikes, he added.
The first is to secure their bikes using an appropriate locks.
"We strongly urge students, faculty and staff to secure their bikes using a Kryptonite U-Lock," Fischer said. "Even if it's a cheap bike, by using a cable lock you're basically leaving it out there to get stolen."
Students can buy these locks from the Penn Bookstore, Fischer said.
The second measure is to register the bike through Campus Express.
Students get two serial numbers, one of which is stuck to the bike in a hidden area and can be used to trace the bike if it is stolen.
Fischer highlighted how bike theft can be the tip of the iceberg for more serious campus crime.
Bike thieves come to campus with the intent of committing a crime, he said.
While their initial target may be a bicycle, if they see an opportunity to snatch a laptop or slip into an unsecured building, they will most likely do so.
"If we harden campus against bike theft, it has a knock-on effect for other crimes," he said.
In a wider context, the stolen-bike trade can also contribute to the illegal drugs trade, Fischer added.
"Runners" will usually use stolen bikes to transport drugs between a dealer on a corner and a safe house where the drugs are stashed, he explained.Comments powered by Disqus
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