Increasing bike thefts cause growing concern for students


(Photo: Jessie Gronke)

by Clayton Bowers, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — A recent surge in bike thefts has caused students to become uneasy with leaving their bikes on campus.

Since the beginning of the semester, three bike thefts have been reported to campus security officials. The majority of the bikes stolen have been of higher quality.

Sophomore Madi Paulson  had her bicycle stolen earlier this summer.

“I worked on campus and had it locked up all summer by the library,” Paulson said. “One day I went to go pump up the tires and it was gone.”

The theft was reported to both campus security and the Indianola Police Department. Paulson’s bike has yet to be found.

“I’ve been very discouraged to get another bike while at Simpson,” Paulson said. “I still have my hopes up, but I’m not expecting it to return.”

Rosa Gude, also a sophomore, said her bike was stolen at the start of the semester.

“I don’t have a car, so I used it to get around town and campus,” Gude said. “It was around the third week of school. I had it locked up behind Picken and noticed it missing. I originally thought someone was playing a trick on me, but then I saw my lock cut and laying on the ground by the bike rack.”

Gude had owned her bike since middle school and had taken it on two RAGBRAIs.

“I wanted to do RAGBRAI again this summer, but I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore,” Gude said. “My only regret is that I didn’t get a U-lock for my bike.”

A U-lock is a popular bike lock, usually made out of steel, making it nearly impossible to cut through.

Chris Frerichs, director of security at Simpson, has taken notice of the recent thefts around campus.

“The best advice I can give to students would be to keep a record of your bike information,” Frerichs said. “If it’s a highly valuable bike, maybe look into getting insurance on it. Also, check on it as frequently as you can. If someone sees a bike in the same spot for days at a time, they may think it can be stolen and go unnoticed for several days.”

One concern among students is the lack of outdoor surveillance, making these thefts easy to happen. The absence of cameras has been a recurring concern every year, but money seems to be the primary obstacle.

“A lot of times, it comes down to cost,” Frerichs said. “We have looked at areas on campus that we would put cameras in if we had the funding. With the increasingly fast technological advancements, it’s only a matter of time before outdoor cameras will be affordable, and we plan on getting them as soon as possible.”

The Student Government Association is working on a project that could help prevent thefts, especially at night. A new lighting plan has been proposed and is currently under consideration.

“Above all, let us know if a bike, or anything for that matter, gets stolen,” Frerichs said. “We will help write up a report, and also file a report with the Indianola Police Department.”