On Jan. 31, Campus Safety officers noticed someone not affiliated with Kenyon trying to open car doors in South Lot #2. This individual fled the scene on a stolen bicycle before being apprehended by Knox County Sheriff deputies, according to Campus Safety Director Michael Sweazey.
Following the on-campus incident, the Office of Campus Safety sent out a Student-Info email urging students to securely lock their cars and bikes.
This is not the first instance of bicycle theft in the campus community. According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, seven incidents have occurred throughout Gambier since September.
“In a rural and quiet setting like Kenyon, it is easy to become complacent in regards to vehicle and bicycle security,” the Campus Safety email read. “But there are those who would relieve you of your property everywhere, Gambier being no exception.”
On Jan. 31, Laura Grosh ’21 woke up to find an email and voicemail from Campus Security saying that her bike had been stolen — and returned — in one night. She did not use a bike lock, but doubts that having one would have helped.
“My roommate’s [bike] was locked and hers was also stolen,” she explained. “So I don’t think it would have made that much of a difference.”
In response to the growing number of thefts, Campus Safety has increased their nightly patrols. They have since recovered a number of bicycles thrown in the woods or left by the roadside.
At Kenyon, the majority of bicycle theft comes from students “borrowing” the bicycles of others to get across campus, Sweazey said. The original owners often find their bikes elsewhere on campus, far from where they left them.
“I find it disappointing that students think it is okay to do this, because it causes understandable anxiety when a student discovers their bicycle missing, and it deprives them of their transportation,” Sweazey said.
Sweazey encourages students to secure their bicycles with quality bike locks. He recommends wrapping the lock around the frame of the bike, rather than the wheel or seat post.
He also suggests that students maintain a description of their bike, along with serial numbers, in order to identify stolen property. According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, serial numbers can be easily used to identify stolen bikes when plugged into Ohio’s LEADS computer system, a network of information and records shared among law enforcement.
“Nothing in the world is immune to theft, so the trick is to make your item difficult to steal,” Sweazey said. “In general, a thief is looking for a target that is low-risk, easy and quick to take. So the more difficult and time-consuming it is for a thief to take your item, the less chance they will try.”
Students who notice any suspicious behavior or unauthorized entry onto campus should notify Campus Safety immediately, by calling 740-427-5500 or using the RAVE Guardian app.