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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Bike theft on Carleton’s campus and what you can do about it

At a smaller college in a rural area, such as Carleton, the general rate of crime is much lower than it is in more urban campuses. Bike theft on campus, however, is a pervasive issue, affecting many students each year.


According to the 2023 Annual Clery Security and Fire Safety Report, released by campus security on September 29, there have been no reports of robbery in the three years that the report covered. The report does not include theft, however, the distinction between the two being that robbery includes a threat of violence or fear to the victim. 


Director of Security and Emergency Management Blake Held commented on bike theft on Carleton’s campus: “Bikes that are unlocked or higher-value bikes locked with a chain or cable locks are typically targeted more often,” Held said. Students considering bringing a bike to campus may consider getting a lower-quality bike or renting bikes from local bike shops or to find used bikes in Northfield. 


Another way to combat bike theft is to use a high-quality lock on your bike such as a “U-shaped lock, lock as much of the bike as possible and lock the bicycle onto the provided campus bike racks,” Held said. Carleton Security also offers directions for locking your bike on their website. 


Bike theft on Carleton’s campus typically occurs at night, but also at the beginning of terms. “We often see an increase in bike theft at the beginning of Fall Term and after the snow melts in spring,” Held said.


Typically, when bikes are stolen, the thief cuts the lock or simply rides an unlocked bike away. As well as reporting any thefts that occur, when locking your bike, check to see if there are exterior cameras near you as they can be used to gather more information.


If you suspect your bike has been stolen, Security advises that you reach out to both Carleton Security and to the Northfield Police Department. “It can be difficult to find the bike or the suspect who took the bike, especially if the theft is not reported immediately. We have a great relationship with the Northfield Police Department, and we encourage people who have been the victim of a bike theft to file a report with Security and the Northfield Police as soon as possible,” Held said.

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