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Stay vigilant: What you can do to prevent theft at VSU

On October 23rd, VSU lay witness to one of the most high-volume days of bike theft in the university’s history.

At 11:30 a.m., a student reported that their bike had been stolen from Langdale Residence Hall.

A little over an hour later, and only a few hundred feet away, another student reported their bike stolen from Reade Hall.

For now, the case remains open, but there are still important lessons to be learned. Here are some theft prevention tips straight from VSU’s Department of Public Safety.

Bikes:

Bikes are the most frequently stolen item on campus, and VSU PD said it’s due to two factors:

1. Using the wrong type of lock

2. Attaching the lock to the wrong part of the bike

Sgt. Heidi Browning of the VSU PD said many students purchase cable locks under the assumption it will deter criminals.

While it’s better than no lock at all, “they can still be snipped with scissors,” Sgt. Browning said. “I recommend all students purchase a U-lock. We have had to bring in welders to come get them off of bikes.”

U-locks can be purchased for around $15 and are absolutely essential to bike safety. Click here for a link to an Amazon page where a U-lock can be purchased.

Sgt. Browning also said a large contributing factor to bike thefts is students locking their bike incorrectly.

“A lot of students lock their bikes on the wheels,” she said. “It’s very easy to take a wheel off.”

If you want to keep your bike around always use an adequate lock and always attach the lock on the frame of the bike, never on anything removable.

VSU PD also offers the BAT, or Bicycle Anti-Theft program. Visit the Police Headquarters and ask about the BAT program, and you will be given a decal with a serial number unique to your bicycle.

Once applied, VSU PD officers are authorized to stop you on your bike after 10:30 p.m.

This may sound at first to be a disadvantage, but remember that it could be instrumental in stopping a potential bike thief.

Theft of items:

“Typically, during finals time is when we see the biggest influx of stolen items, mainly laptops,” Sgt. Browning said. “A student will leave their valuables out in the library, go to get a book and when they get back, all their stuff is gone.”

Laptops are typically the most stolen item, and also the hardest to find. Students often have no knowledge of their laptop’s or electronics’ serial numbers, which makes finding theirs in a crowd almost impossible.

However, VSU PD has a solution for that as well. Their Personal Property Inventory is a form you can fill out listing the make, model and serial numbers of all your valuable electronics and personal property.

The information is then submitted to an online database which can search for traces of your property if it is stolen.

It is also helpful to inventory your belongings in the case of evacuation or emergency.

Theft from vehicles:

Vehicle theft is relatively uncommon at VSU. However, always remember to:

– lock all doors and roll up your windows

-make sure all valuables are hidden and out of sight before leaving vehicle unattended

Theft from residence halls:

VSU PD has plenty of tips for how to reduce thefts from residence halls:

– Remember to always lock your door.

– Do not leave messages on your door indicating that you are away.

– Keep doors and windows secure.

– Do not prop open exterior doors.

– Do not leave keys in a hiding place.

If you follow this advice, you should be well on your way to graduating with all of your belongings.

Written by Patrick Barry, Staff Writer.

For more Campus Crime, click here. For this week’s Crime Report, click here

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