Bike Theft Continues On Campus


Photo Courtesy of Howard Bouchevereau

By Victoria Tillinghast and Brandon Coomar

Originally published September 20, 2021.


Bike theft around the Old Dominion University campus has quickly become a common occurrence this semester. According to the ODU Daily Crime and Fire Safety Log, 16 bicycles have been stolen so far from various locations including the Batten Arts & Letters Building, Gresham Hall, and the Powhatan Apartments. Three of these reported larcenies occurred just last week.


Henry Blankenship, a current freshman at ODU, is well aware of the bike theft around campus.


“I’m super conscious about having my bike when I am here,” he said. “I always have to place it in the back of my place, so no one takes it.” Blankenship expressed concern for the safety of his transportation, sharing that bike theft seems to be common on campuses across the country.


Blankenship would be correct. In fact, 1.5 million bikes are reported stolen from college campuses every year. The number of stolen bikes reported on campuses nationwide puts the statistical chance of having your bike stolen at about 53 percent. Furthermore, it’s speculated that 4.5 million bike thefts go unreported—making the odds and the numbers much higher.


In a safety warning sent out to ODU students via email on Sept. 8, the ODUPD reported that most thefts occurred between the hours of 2:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., though weekend thefts more frequently happened between 8:00-9:00 a.m. ODU also offered a registry for bicycles to help in possible recovery.


Amongst students surveyed, it was agreed that locking up your bike was the simplest solution to crime prevention. Data shows that only 2 percent of bikes that were reported stolen on campuses were locked with a U-lock. Students also recommended getting a bike lock with a padlock, since, in their opinion, bike locks with the key could be easily picked by a culprit.


Studies show that over 50 percent of college-age students regularly ride bikes, as it is an efficient way to work around the hassle of college parking and transportation problems. The popularity of using bikes is also quite dependent on the weather. Mild Virginian falls make riding bikes around the campus a popular activity. As cold and rain starts to settle in the later fall and winter seasons, and more students and faculty take to cycling over walking in the frigid air to classes, it can be speculated that bicycle larceny will most likely continue on campus.