Apprehend bicycle theives

Let's not deny it, our campus has a problem and no one is doing anything about it. Hundreds of bikes and tires are stolen each month and it seriously hinders those who truly need them to get around. I propose to have an extra form of vigilance around major bicycle parking locations around campus in order to track down and apprehend bicycle thieves. This can be security cameras, flood lights, extra police patrols, etc. Some rumors around campus suggest that there's a bicycle thieving ring and in raising security and vigilance, we could catch the thieves and break up the ring. Please help push for this because the UAPD never looks for stolen bikes and many people suffer because they had their only form of transit stolen

(Submitted June 2015)


Thanks to both David Heineking, Executive Director of UA Parking & Transportation and Keith Brittain, Assistant Chief of Police for the UA Police Department for the following responses:

From David Heineking:

PTS takes bike theft very seriously.  We understand that for many people their bicycle is their primary or even only means of transportation and bike theft can be devastating.  A bike is a very significant investment—whether it is used for an occasional ride or as daily transportation—we want to help you keep your bike from being stolen.  To that end, PTS has developed a number of programs designed to help keep your bike safe which are listed below.  Please remember that you can help prevent theft by reporting any suspicious activity to the University Police immediately.

  • Bike registration—This free service records your serial number and provides you with a registration sticker.  Registration info is shared with UAPD.
  • Bike Lock sales—PTS has teamed up with UAPD to provide inexpensive, high quality U-locks for sale to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Bike Valet—A free service for anyone with a registered bike.  Located on the mall in the center of campus, you bring your bike and we watch it while you go to class or work or wherever on campus. 
  • Bike Racks—PTS provides more than 11,000 bike parking spaces at bike racks located close to nearly every building on campus.
  • Bike Lockers—PTS has bike lockers scattered throughout campus for those who desire a more secure facility for their bicycle. 
  • Bike Enclosures—There are five bike enclosures located in garages.
  • Routine surveillance—Parking Service Officers routinely patrol bike parking areas looking for suspicious activity.
  • Bike Share—For any campus affiliate who does not wish to bring their own bike to campus, PTS will provide a bike for use up to 24 hrs (longer on the weekends) at no charge.  One of the 55 bikes can be checked out from any of the parking garages by speaking with the garage cashier.
  • Bike Ambassadors—By partnering with Pima County, PTS has two bike ambassadors on campus each day.  Their primary purpose is to promote safe riding including teaching correct locking techniques to prevent thefts. 
  • Cat Tran Drivers—Cat Tran Drivers are on campus all day.  They regularly watch for any suspicious activity and report it to UAPD.
  • Bike Station—The bike station on campus assists riders with basic repairs while instructing on safe riding and teaching how to correctly lock up a bicycle.

And, not specifically related to bike theft, but PTS gives out about 2500 bike lights and bells to cyclists so they may ride safely. 

From Keith Brittain:

In addition to the thoughts and programs mentioned by Mr. Heineking, UAPD takes this problem seriously and works with our community on this problem in many ways. For example, police and civilian employees patrol campus 24/7 via foot, bicycle and vehicles, and we take action to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law when bike thieves are encountered. UAPD attends each New Student Orientation and provides tips and demonstrations on how to most securely lock your bicycle, to include using the residence halls and garages with enhanced perimeter security. We also highly encourage recording your bike’s serial number and keeping a photo of the bike, especially if the bike has not been registered. When we find an unsecured bicycle on campus, we take it into custody and give it to Parking and Transportation Services for safekeeping to reduce the chance of it being stolen.

 Bicycle theft is a crime of opportunity that is not limited to darkness or sparsely populated areas. UAPD will respond to all community calls regarding suspicious persons or suspected thieves on campus, and we encourage everyone to report this type of activity. We provide police liaisons to campus residences to keep lines of information open, and encourage reporting of crimes of all types. UAPD also provides crime prevention presentations to campus groups upon request for many topics including property and life safety. In cases where we have knowledge of repeat offenders or suspected criminal enterprises, we will post a “Campus Watch” to the community to share the information and encourage vigilance and reporting. Individuals having no University of Arizona affiliation who commit crimes on campus may also be given an Exclusionary Order prohibiting their return to campus.

Off campus, we work with other local law enforcement agencies to share information on stolen and recovered bicycles as well as known offenders to address the issue, and we utilize a computer database tied directly to local pawn shops to facilitate recovery of stolen bikes and goods with serial numbers, which often leads to suspect information we can investigate.

UAPD relies heavily on the community to be our extra eyes and hears to promptly report suspicious or criminal activity so that we may respond in a timely manner to have the best chance at catching the suspect. Several of our campus community members are recognized in our “Partners With Our Community” ceremonies where we invite the community and media to help us formally thank these people for their actions in helping keep our campus safe and secure. We look forward to working with you to continue promoting a safe and secure campus!


Carefully Considered



Submitted by pbarabe on
I'd simply like to add that, as a bicycle owner, it's definitely worth the bit of effort to register your bike and to make record of your bike's serial number. Several years ago my bike was stolen while locked on campus. I filed a police report, including my bike's serial number. Several months later, someone attempted to sell the bike to a local pawn shop, and ultimately UAPD recovered and returned my bike.
Patrick B

Submitted by sias on
Although David and Keith make a number of valid points and great suggestions, there does seem to be a serious bike theft problem. Have the police consider using bait bikes (as they do in SF, for example)? It would seem that such a program would both act a deterrence and allow apprehension.

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