scooters and bikes

UCR sees rise in scooter and bike thefts

Tips to thwart thieves

April 15, 2024
Jordan Cornet
Author: Jordan Cornet
April 15, 2024

Electric scooters and bikes are viewed by students as a convenient, eco-friendly way to get around campus. But the high value of these vehicles, combined with students’ habit of leaving them unattended, has led to a rise in thefts on campus at UC Riverside.

Starting in 2024, UCR’s campus police department has seen a rise in personal electric vehicle thefts, with 60 scooters/e-bikes already having been recorded stolen this year. Records for past years were not available, but UC Police Department Lt. Jason Day said “our numbers are up significantly… most other jurisdictions are experiencing the same increase.”

Police have said most thefts are happening at large parking areas for scooters at night, for example near the Student Recreation Center, the dining halls, and areas where students frequently leave their scooters unattended. 

Nate Pickens, a second-year student and basketball player at UCR, had his scooter stolen from outside the athletics and dance building earlier this year. He said he thought his scooter would be safe after he locked it.

"It was really disappointing to find out my scooter was stolen, even though I carefully locked it. I thought it would be safe here," he said.

Police claim locking scooters or bikes isn’t enough to keep them safe. The thefts often involve people who aren't part of the campus community and come prepared with tools to break locks.

To enhance campus security for personal electric vehicles, campus police recommend several proactive steps students can take to reduce theft.

●    Using hardened steel U-locks with anti-pick features ensures a secure fit, making it challenging for thieves to steal the vehicle. 

●    Securing vehicles to stationary, immovable objects, like bike racks or designated scooter spots, and parking scooters and bikes in well-lit, highly trafficked areas is advised to deter potential thieves

●    For on-campus residents, particularly those in residence halls, utilizing bike cages is encouraged

●    Employing multiple locking mechanisms, such as combining U-locks, cable locks, or disc brake locks, can significantly improve security measures.

●    The addition of tracking devices to scooters or bikes is also recommended. By installing GPS or Bluetooth tracking devices, owners can enhance the chances of recovery if their vehicle is stolen. These devices can alert an owner's phone if the vehicle is moved without authorization. The best placement for these devices is under the deck of the scooter or beneath the bike's seat.

The UC Police Department is taking action to help prevent scooter and bike thefts.

"We're going to patrol more and start several new projects to tackle this issue. This includes a free program where you can register your scooter, starting in the spring quarter," Day said. 

Updates about these registration programs can be found on the official UCRPD @ucrpolicedept Instagram account.

Please read a message from UCR Dean of Students, Christine Mata, about Scooter and Wheeled Device Safety.