Protect Your Bicycle
Bicycles are among the most popular forms of transportation on campus, which makes them a popular target of thieves. Help protect your bicycle by taking these simple steps.
- Lock your bicycle—always—even if you are going somewhere for only a minute or two. If possible, lock your bicycle inside a building or a well-lighted area. Always secure your lock through the frame as well as both wheels. Do not merely lock your bicycle to itself, but lock it to something solid such as a bicycle rack or sturdy post.
- If you live off-campus, always lock your bicycle, even if you store it in your apartment building or a garage. Every year, hundreds of unlocked bikes are stolen from locked garages.
- Make sure your bicycle lock is adequate for the task. Bike thieves often check out bike racks looking for "bargains," the best bike with the cheapest looking lock. Investing a few extra dollars in a good lock can end up saving you money—and grief—down the road.
- Register your bicycle with the Metropolitan Police Department. This can be done at any police district station; your campus police department may also take bicycle registrations. If your bicycle is registered, then stolen and recovered, the police will know you are the owner and can return it to you.
- Also record the serial number of your bicycle. If your bicycle is stolen, report the theft to the police and give them the serial number. If the bicycle is stolen and recovered, it can then be returned to you.
Protect Your Residence and Valuables
If you live in a dorm room, fraternity or sorority house, or other on-campus housing, here are simple tips for protecting your residence and belongings. If you have roommates, make sure they understand and follow these same tips:
- Lock the door to your room whenever you leave, even if it is just for a few minutes. The majority of thefts from dorm rooms and apartments happen when the residents are not in, and the door is unlocked. Also, lock your door when you are showering or sleeping. If you live on the ground floor, lock your windows. If you discover that your door or window does not lock, leave a maintenance request to have it repaired and contact your resident assistant. If you live in a unit with a sliding glass door, secure it further by placing a length of wood (a dowel or broom handle) in the track on the floor to stop it from opening.
- Don't leave exterior doors or inner lobby doors propped open when they should be closed. If you find one open, close it. And never allow individuals you do not recognize and who do not have a key or pass-card to enter a building. This includes pizza delivery drivers and other service personnel in uniforms.
- Be particularly careful as you are moving in or out of your room. Have family or friends assist you with watching your valuables at both ends: your room and the vehicle holding them.
- Record the serial numbers of valuable objects you have in your room. Engrave such objects with your driver's license number.
- Do not leave cash, credit cards, or checks in unlocked desks or cabinets.
- If you have a laptop computer, lock it in a desk or cabinet when you are out of your room—and keep it in your immediate possession at all other times. The same is true for a cell phone.
- Mark clothes with a laundry pen or thread and needle in a spot other than the label.
- If you have voice mail or an answering machine, don't leave a message that indicates you are away from your residence. Simply state that you are unavailable.
- Do not allow people you do not know well to stay overnight in your room.
Protect Your Vehicle
Vehicles in parking lots always present an attractive target for thieves. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chance that your car will be broken into or stolen:
- Lock your car whenever it is unattended—both on—and off-campus.
- Do not leave expensive property, such as laptops, CD cases, money, purses, cell phones, and portable stereos in plain view in your car. Lock them in your trunk or take them with you. Cover up conspicuous stereo equipment.
- If you have expensive stereo equipment in your car, consider investing in a car alarm. If you have a car alarm, turn it on whenever you leave your car unattended.
- Record the brand, model numbers, and serial numbers of all electronic equipment installed in your car. In the event of theft, give this information to the police. If the equipment is recovered, it can then be returned to you. Also engrave your driver's license number on this equipment.
- Engrave your Vehicle Identification Number (found on your registration or under the windshield on the driver's side) on the doors, windows, fenders, and trunk lids of your car. This helps prevent theft, because the thief will need to replace these parts before selling the car.
- If you live off-campus, try to park your car off the street, in a garage or other secure area. If this is not possible, always park in a well-lighted area.
- Use a steering wheel lock when your car is parked. While these devices are not foolproof, a thief may decide it's not worth the effort.