Butler University Police Department’s crime log showed 16 thefts reported on campus between June and August.
BUPD staff said this was actually a fairly quiet summer.
Locations of thefts varied from residence halls to academic buildings. One item accounted for over half of the total summer thefts—bikes.
Bikes and small electronics are the most common stolen items on campus, detective Bruce Allee said.
“These people stealing bikes blend right in with the rest of campus,” Allee said. “They’re young people, and they wear backpacks to blend in. But then they whip the wire cutters out of their backpack and break through the locks. Then they ride them to a pawn shop.”
There is still something students can do to protect their rides, although it may be unnerving that bikes are being stolen while locked.
Allee said every student should invest in a U-lock.
Ben Hunter, chief of staff and executive director of public safety, also attested to the effectiveness of U-locks.
There has never been a case of a bike stolen at Butler that was secured with a U-lock, Hunter said.
“If you want to keep your bike,” Allee said, “you need to get a U-lock.”
Another way to protect a bike on campus is to take advantage of a new database that BUPD can now use to recover stolen items.
Hunter, said BUPD purchased a contract with a national database that compares the serial numbers of items reported stolen on campus to items that are pawned all across the nation.
“As of right now, giving BUPD your bike’s serial number is a voluntary action,” Hunter said. “If the numbers of bike thefts don’t go down at all, we may move to make this registration of bikes mandatory.”
Other summer thefts revolved mainly around items being taken from cars or off-campus houses in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.
“The biggest mistake here is leaving cars unlocked and keeping valuables visible,” Allee said, mentioning iPods, GPS devices and cell phones in particular.
“Students also think that it’s okay to keep their house or dorm rooms unlocked for just a little while if their roommate will be home soon,” Hunter said. “This is just as dangerous. A lot can happen in the half hour the door is unlocked.”
“In a case where a laptop was stolen from a house on Berkley, the residents weren’t even sure if their door was locked or not,” Allee said. “Please just always lock your doors.”
But besides just locking up, students can be proactive in protecting their property.
“Reporting suspicious activity is always very helpful,” Hunter said. “If we can catch these guys before they do any damage, that’s the best-case scenario. And with the largest freshman class in Butler’s history, now is the time more than ever to look out for your fellow students.”