ASU Police hopes bike registration curbs thefts

(Photo by Michael Arellano)

In an attempt to prevent rampant bike theft, ASU Police launched a program that allows students to register their bikes on campus.

Led by crime prevention officer Brian Kiefling, the program allows for students to register a bike’s serial number with ASU Police.

Registering the serial number makes it easier for officers to track down a stolen bike. Students can register their bikes for free online by visiting ASU’s website.

Kiefling said that the program is helpful because students often don’t know the serial number on their bike. When they report bikes as missing, officers don’t have much to go on.

“More often than you’d think, we come across a person riding a bike while carrying another,” Kiefling said. “Obviously we stop this person and run the serial numbers on both bikes, but if neither bike is registered, nothing will come up and we have to let them go.”

Since the program’s inception last semester, 537 bikes have been registered.

Kiefling said that since the program is so new, it’s hard to tell if bike registration will help curb the number of bike thefts. But at least it will be easier for police to recover the stolen bikes.

However, he does point out that bike thefts decreased to 147 this January and February from 160 bikes stolen in January and February of 2010.

There are currently no numbers on how many stolen bikes have been recovered because of this program so far.

Bike registration is available for all campuses, and only ASU students, faculty and staff can register their bikes.

Kiefling said he hopes that once the program catches on and becomes bigger, that maybe one day ASU Police can collaborate with the Tempe Police Department.

For now, Kiefling is focusing on raising awareness about the bike registration program. He is working with the Canon Leadership Program, a student-run leadership development program, to promote bike registration on campus.

Stressing that education is the best approach to stopping bike theft, the group has had tabling events on campus to make it easier for students to register. They have also gotten every bookstore on campus to carry U-Locks, which Kiefling said is the best type of lock to use to prevent theft.

Jay Spradling, the assistant chief of police for ASU Police, said a possible vehicle transportation ban on campus would not affect the bike registration program.

“Bikes would still be used to come to campus and possessed by those living on campus,” he said. “There is still value to the registration program.”

Biology junior Danielle Rasmussen rides her bike to school every day. But she does not have her bike registered, because it’s never been stolen and she doesn’t feel her bike is worth registering.

“I just got my bike at a garage sale, so it’s not worth that much,” she said. “If it was more expensive, I would definitely register it, though.”

Reach the reporter at danielle.legler@asu.edu