Bike theft education grant offers free U-locks

by Diana Crofts-Pelayo

The San Diego State Police Department recently received a $7,500 grant to educate students about bicycle theft prevention.

According to SDSUPD Capt. Lamine Secka, the three goals officials want to accomplish with the grant are to have students register their bikes through the department, provide students with U-locks and educate students about bike awareness.

The grant helped pay for locks, registration stickers and placards. The placards are now in place at 20 bike rack locations throughout campus.

“We would like for everyone on campus to register their bikes because once registered, we will have their information and will be able to help them more quickly if their bike is stolen,” Secka said.

The police department was awarded the grant from the Aztec Parents Association, a volunteer organization that supports programs and services and keeps parents involved in their student’s education.

Every year the Aztec Parents Association receives grant proposals from on-campus entities. Last year, the grant helped fund the SDSUPD K-9 Unit.

“We are very appreciative of the Aztec Parents Association,” Secka said.

Although Secka said that overall crime peaks around the holidays, 26 bikes have been stolen this year and 61 were stolen last year.

Unfortunately for Sandra De La Torre, a public relations senior, her bike was one of these stolen this year. De La Torre would ride her bike to school and take the bus to her job at SeaWorld.

Less than a month ago, her bike was stolen from the bike rack in front of the Cuicacalli Residence Hall where she left it overnight.

“I had two locks on my bike and it was still stolen,” De La Torre said.

When De La Torre went to file a report with the SDSUPD she said there had been notices on the bikes saying if riders did not remove their bikes before a certain date, all the locks would be cut off.

“I never received a notice on my bike maybe because I would ride it every day,” she said.

She was told that someone might have stolen her bike immediately before they cut off the locks.

“It takes less than five seconds for an expert to steal a bike,” Secka said.

Starting in the fall, the SDSUPD is planning at least two bike registration and education events. On Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, the police department will be registering bikes on campus and displaying how to properly lock a bike.

The process to get a bike registered does not take very long. A student needs to come in with the bike, register it and they can leave with an optional free U-lock.

These bike theft incidents have not been resolved and students such as De La Torre are still waiting for the investigation to develop further.