Keep your bike safe from theft

Thefts return to pre-pandemic rate on campus

The rate of bicycle theft on the U of M Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses has returned to its average from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Security services encourages students to take proper precautions as the fall term approaches.

Since the beginning of 2023, there have been 30 reports of bicycle theft with a recovery rate of 50 per cent. Additionally, U of M security services interrupted a theft in progress and apprehended one individual at the beginning of summer term.

Gordon Perrier, director of U of M security services, said that bike thefts tend to occur in “spurts.”

“We’ll have a few days of bike thefts,” he said. “When we see these spurts then we do some intercession work, and it sort of drops off and then comes forward again.”

The thefts appear to be sporadic. One month there may be several thefts and the next month there may be none or close to zero.

Perrier said that bike racks are where almost all the thefts occur. The U of M office of sustainability lists the bike station in the U of M parkade and bike lockers around campus as places to safely store bicycles.

According to Perrier, the rate of bicycle theft has remained fairly consistent from year to year, except during the pandemic when it went down.

“As long as people have been riding bikes, bike theft has been an issue,” he said.

Perrier said that thefts are often committed by visitors rather than students. Footage of suspects captured on CCTV is forwarded to the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS).

If a student’s bicycle is stolen or goes missing, reports can be made entirely online on the security services webpage or by calling the security services’ non-emergency lines for U of M campuses, also listed on the website. Students are also encouraged to report thefts to WPS.

Perrier advised students who feel they have seen something suspicious to contact security services.

“It’s important that people actually report this,” Perrier said. Making a report can help security services generate accurate statistics and impose measures to lower the “statistical line.”

Security services has been stapling its “lock it up effectively” pamphlet around any unlocked bikes to encourage people on campus to securely store their bikes. In conjunction with the U of M office of sustainability, the campaign is aiming to promote bicycles as a mode of transportation to campus and to encourage students to use proper bike locks.

Perrier said that students riding their bikes to university this year should use a U-lock secured around the front wheel, bike frame and rack. U-locks can be purchased at the U of M bookstore.

“If you don’t take those small steps, things can go missing.”