The preventable crime on Auraria’s campus

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Posted Sat, Apr 14, 2018

Bikes with AHEC recommended U-locks outside of the police department. [Photo: Natasha Lovato]

DENVER, Auraria Campus — Jason Mollendor, commander of investigations and community relations at the Auraria Police Department has a number of tips for students to help reduce the number of bikes and bike parts stolen on campus each semester.

First: Mollendor suggested that students record the serial number, as well as the make and model on their bike. Mollendor emphasized the importance of a serial number. In the event a bike is stolen to be pawned off, by entering the serial number of the bike, the police can track down the exact pawn shop in hopes of returning it to the owner.

Second: Mollendor says students should invest in the proper lock. For around $20 a U-lock can be purchased. A U-lock is a sturdy, metal lock that bolt cutters cannot break through.

“Students often get the cheapest lock they can find,” Mollendor explains. “There are people who specialize in bike theft. Anyone can go to [the] Home Depot and buy bolt cutters. They walk buy, cut the lock, and walk away with the bike without anyone noticing.”

Along with the serial number and U-lock, Mollendor’s third piece of advice is students need to register their bikes with the Auraria Police. Along with the registry of bicycles at the beginning of the semester, Auraria PD has 50 U-locks they will rent to students for the semester.

Lasie Zion, records manager and Clery Act Compliance coordinator of the Auraria Police Department shared the statistics of stolen bikes with 32 bikes reported stolen in 2016 and 26 so far in the year 2017. When broken down by month, August has the highest amount of bikes reported stolen with nine in 2016, and five in 2017.

Auraria Campus Police Chief Michael Phibbs. [Photo: Sara Hertwig]

Unfortunately, bike theft is not the only repeated crime within the Auraria campus. Chief of Police Michael Phibbs describes a couple different scenarios where students have left their backpacks in the library, or a classroom while leaving for a moment to go to the restroom, but when they return, their items are missing.

“Crimes of opportunity,” Phibbs says. “These are crimes that are committed because thieves did not plan the crime, they just came across the opportunity.  Students frequently have their valuables taken because they left them unattended for a few minutes.  Sometimes students just leave their belongs for a minute to get a drink, or they leave their things unattended in a classroom before or after class, and sometimes students leave their electronics charging and forget them briefly when they leave an area.”

Phibbs also suggests not taking everything valuable to campus where laptops, iPads, social security cards, and birth certificates should be carefully watched over and especially not left in one place unattended.

Further precautions can be taken in order to prevent any crimes of opportunity.

“Be aware of your surroundings, and contact the police department if you see something or someone that does not seem right.  We also ask that you save our telephone number in your cell phone. It is (303)556-5000,” Mollendor says.

Mollendor urges another caution with the correct emergency line, however.  “If you dial 911 from your cell phone it will go to another agency, most likely the Denver Police Department, but not us.  That significantly slows down the amount of time it takes to get us help.”

As students face enough stress with the pressures of finals, work and everyday life, reducing their chances of bike theft and crimes of opportunity comes with a number of preventable and easily accessible steps.

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