By Ava Mandel
Sophomore Lizzie Perlas had her bike stolen in late August outside her residence hall. The music education and speech-language-hearing sciences major said the cord had been cut, and her bike was taken along with the lock, totaling over a $100 value in stolen property.
Since January of 2017, there have been five reported bicycle thefts in various locations on campus. Surveillance footage shows local youths coming onto campus and riding off with these bicycles. The department of Public Safety will soon be implementing a new bicycle ID program in an attempt to decrease bike thefts.
“I think Public Safety already does a lot for us on campus, especially behind closed door,” Perlas said. “But I wouldn’t be upset if Hofstra installed a few more bike racks and didn’t use such flimsy wire in the residential racks.”
The majority of bike disappearances are happening by the residence halls with the occasional incident occurring on the academic side of campus. On Friday, Aug. 25, a bike that was left unattended for five days was taken from the Vander Poel Hall bike rack. On Thursday, Aug. 24, a bike that was secured to the bike rack the previous night was taken from the Alliance Hall bike rack. On Wednesday, March 1, there was a bike taken from the Axinn Library bike rack. On Sunday, Feb. 12, a bike that was left unattended for two months during the winter break was taken from the bike rack in front of the Netherlands. The first reported incident for 2017 was on Saturday, Jan. 21, when a bike that had been parked in the Nassau Hall bike rack was taken some time over the winter break.
“As soon as we can, we’re going to roll out a bicycle registration program, which will be open to all students. It will be free of charge [and voluntary],” said Robert McDonald, the associate director for Operations for the Department of Public Safety. “We’ll ask the student, we’ll either have them come into Public Safety or we will make up a schedule and visit residence halls. We’ll engrave their bike with some type of identifying mark, identifying it as a Hofstra student’s bicycle. And while we’re there, we’ll also take the name and the make of the bike. All bikes have serial numbers, we’ll take that down. And then we’ll keep a log of all our students’ bikes registered.”
Kalysia Bell, a sophomore biology major, said of the new bike-ID program, “I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to do. The problem is not people identifying their bike, the problem is that bikes keep getting stolen on campus. If you think about it on a larger scale, the parking passes don’t prevent cars from getting stolen, they just identify your car on campus. It’s the same idea – you’re identifying these bikes, but they still might get stolen at the end of the day. And if they do, then what’s the point of this program?”
McDonald recommends students use some type of H-bar lock in order to properly and securely attach bicycles to bike racks outside of residence halls in efforts to reduce risk of theft.