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"I Did Everything Right": Kaneko Targeted in Bike Thefts

Alan Cohen

Staff Writer

Kaneko bike storage left empty, as students look for alternatives. Photo by Josie Elicker

Seven different reports of bikes and parts of bikes being stolen from the Kaneko residence hall bike storage have been reported since Sep. 22, 2022, according to Willamette Campus Safety. None of the owners have recovered their bikes yet, but multiple reports have been filed to the Salem Police Department.

Inéz Nieves (‘24) is a Kaneko resident whose bike was recently stolen from the bike storage. They explained that their bike was expensive and was always stored using two different U-shaped bike locks, following all Campus Safety recommendations. “I was told that I couldn’t bring my bike into the hallway because it would be a fire safety hazard, and I couldn’t put it on my balcony because that would’ve been a $500 charge,” Nieves explained. Expressing their frustration about the incident, Nieves said they were “every night taking a gamble about whether or not [their] bike would be stolen”. “I had no choice,” they continued. “For it to be stolen, despite the fact that I did everything right, and I took all the advice given to me, including registering it, double-locking it, putting it in storage… It’s really upsetting.” Campus Safety later sent out an email allowing students to store their bikes on their balconies, but it was too late for Inéz.

Although Nieves was responsible and careful while storing her bike, she pointed out how easy it was for people from outside the Willamette community to access the fenced area where bikes were being stolen. This is a major issue that Campus Safety says it is now addressing.

Bikes missing tires. Photo by Josie Elicker

Ross Stout, director of Campus Safety, explained that these thefts have increased significantly since the start of the semester, when compared to the past years during the COVID-19 pandemic, when most Kaneko residents lived in B and C wings and often had the alternative of storing their bikes inside their rooms.

When asked about what actions students could take to avoid their bikes getting stolen, Stout encouraged bike owners to utilize U-shaped locks, which are more secure than traditional cable-type locks. These locks are provided by Campus Safety free of cost, and should be used at all times when storing a bike. Also, he added that a Kaneko classroom has been temporarily set up for people to store their bikes indoors while a taller and more secure fence is installed outside.

Additionally, Campus Safety has recently been kicking unauthorized people out from campus to avoid illegal entries and potential thefts. Nevertheless, Stout said, “it is a big campus, and people are able to infiltrate.”.

An important note from Stout is that all bike owners on campus should register their bikes with Campus Safety. This allows authorities to track and identify stolen bikes nationwide. Registering a bike is free, increases the likelihood of the bike being recovered in case of theft, and is a requirement for getting the free U-shaped lock.

As always, students are encouraged to reach out to Campus Safety for any questions or concerns regarding these or other safety issues.

Gloves left in bike storage. Photo by Josie Elicker

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