A wave of bike thefts followed by little or no university action has left some San Francisco State University students feeling betrayed. The most recent incident, a brazen burglary of the enclosed "Bike Barn" storage area, is just another example in a string of incidents that students say has become the norm on the campus of 29,000.
The October 25th burglary of the Bike Barn hit senior Nolen Brown particularly hard. In conversation with Golden Gate Xpress, Brown spoke of discovering that his $3,000 bicycle had been stolen.
“I was enraged,” said Brown. “I was really upset. I’ve been working hard to get a mountain bike team together on campus, so it was a huge setback.”
Residents of San Francisco are no stranger to bike theft, but at least we have the option to store our bikes inside of our own homes. Not so for on-campus residents, as the Xpress notes that residential life rules actually prevent students from storing bicycles in their rooms.
"Bicycles, skates, and skateboards must be kept in designated areas and their use is not permitted on patios or other posted areas. Bicycles, skates, and skateboards may be confiscated if left or ridden in unauthorized areas," the rules read in part.
Another student, Jacob Phillips spoke of the University Police closing the case of the $700 worth of parts stripped from his bike a mere ten hours after he reported it.
“San Francisco, being packed with cyclists, has a University that frankly does not care about cyclists,” said Phillips. “Whether it be students living here or people who commute to school, there is no safe place to keep a bike here on campus.”
This was not the first time the supposedly secure Bike Barn has been broken into, although the campus police seemed unaware of the specifics.
“Theft is not common for the Bike Barn,” University Police Department Chief Reggie Parson told the Xpress in an email.
A quick check by the Xpress of the SF State Arrest, Crime and Fire Log showed that contrary to what Parson claimed, over the course of the past 60 days the Bike Barn has played host to two petty thefts and three burglaries.
While some students can't understand why the University doesn't better work to provide a secure environment for bicycle commuters to store their rides, at least one thinks he knows the answer.
“The solution to bike security requires money, which is why nothing has been done about it,” Phillips said.
Bike theft is not a new problem for SF State either. As recently as April of 2014 the University Police sent out a notice to students warning of a "recent trend of bicycle thefts occurring around campus" and providing students with a list of suggested practices to keep their bicycles secure.
The top suggestion on the list?
"If possible, park your bike in the Bicycle Barn."