By: Sophie Bates, Staff Writer
Photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
Since the start of the fall semester, there have been 11 reported bike thefts around campus, including at common areas such as Newell Hall, the Lecture Hall and the Liberal Arts Building, according to the Towson University Police Department’s crime logs.
TUPD Deputy Chief of Police Joseph Herring said the number of bike theft incidents reported this year have increased.
“We did experience an increase in reported bicycle thefts this calendar year,” he said in an email.
Herring said the suspect has been caught, and the investigation team ascribed the thefts to one person who is not affiliated with the University.
“We attributed this to a single thief operating on our campus,” Herring said. “Our investigators did an excellent job of identifying the individual responsible and we were able to the catch the person in the act.”
TUPD arrested the suspect on Oct. 24 after catching him in the act. The suspect was charged with 10 of the 11 bike thefts reported on campus this semester, according to Herring.
Herring indicated that in most, if not all cases, of these reported bike thefts, the bikes were locked.
“We encourage students to register their bikes with TUPD,” Herring said.
People can register their bikes, and other personal property through the Towson website. Herring said if people don’t register their bikes through TUPD, it helps to have their bike’s make, type, and serial number.
Although Herring said TUPD has caught the suspect, some commuter students are reporting that this increase in theft has changed their feelings of safety on the Towson campus.
Junior Kurt Vogelberger bikes around campus on his way to class, and he notes precautions he has taken now based on the thefts.
“It makes me be more cautious with my bike, since it is one of my most important tools at college,” Vogelberger said. “Bike safety, especially bike competence, is extremely important. I use my bike on a constant day-to-day basis for my commutes.”
The thefts also caused Vogelberger to be more aware of the lack of bike acceptance that he says his present at Towson.
“Towson would be a more ‘bike-friendly’ campus if people had more common sense on how to properly respond and react to a biker trying to get around them,” Vogelberger said. “To be truly bike-friendly, we need to teach the students what proper bike-pedestrian behavior is.”
Freshman Bradley Stansbury, who commutes to campus using his own car, thought Towson was a safe campus until these events.
“While this doesn’t affect me directly considering I don’t bike on campus, it still does make me feel uneasy considering how many times the theft had happened,” Stansbury said. “I think if I were to ever use transportation on campus, I’d stick to a skateboard. I think this still contributes to how people might view Towson has a generally less safe campus than before.”
– Bailey Hendricks contributed to this story